A Star Trek Story

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Re: A Star Trek Story

Postby BigJKU316 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:03 pm

Starbase 342, Admirals Quarters

While Clark was quite young for a Starfleet admiral, having achieved flag rank during the Dominion War at the age of 47 and now aged to 58 years, he felt quite old to be the father of a nine-year old. Twice a father before Clark and his wife had given two children to the Dominion War. The eldest, named Alison after her mother, had died as a Lieutenant manning the helm aboard an ancient Miranda Class ship at the Second Battle of Chin'toka at the hands of the Breen. The youngest, Jacob, had died a mere ensign serving in the fore torpedo launcher of an Akira Class ship during the run in to Cardassia Prime. While the deaths had been hard on Ethan they had devastated his wife Alisha. Forced to stay behind while her whole family fought and died in a terrible war she had nothing to occupy her mind.

For Ethan it had been different, just the most personal part of a long and tragic period of his life. He had not been present at the Second Battle of Chin'toka, having been part of the 2nd Fleets efforts trying to retake Betazed. However his wing of Galaxy Class ships had been present in the drive to Cardassia Prime. He heard the damage report come in proclaiming the USS Agean a loss with all hands. It was an odd feeling, knowing that one had outlived both their children yet being in a battle there was little time to grieve.

Numbed by death over those two years he never really grieved until reunited with his wife later that year. The happiness had drained from her life. For a time there was a thought of leaving Starfleet. After all the family had given enough. But that was just running away. The decision to have another child was never really discussed, it just came about as an unspoken agreement.

The birth of Jackson had enabled both to move past the terrible events of years past, and indeed was a common occurrence across the Federation for couples who had lost children in the war. Starfleet, often being a family business, had more than its share of late in life children, so it had proven to be far less awkward than Ethan had feared. All that said, it had been hard enough to keep up with a nine-year old when he was in his 30's.

As Admiral Clark entered his new permanent quarters Jackson took a flying leap from a chair he had positioned near the door, grabbing his father around the neck and attempting to wrestle him to the ground. He was going through that phase where he viewed his dad as a jungle gym and truth be told Ethan did not mind, even if he was weary from several long days and nights of duty.

"Dad, T'lal taught me the Vulcan nerve pinch today at school!" the child said, trying his best to squeeze his dad into submission.

A quick flip onto the bed and a flip of the covers allowed the Admiral to turn this latest nemesis into a writhing pile of blankets and muffled shouts.

"You had best keep working on that one buddy. I don't think you have all the kinks worked out yet."

From the kitchen they could hear Alisha calling out that dinner was ready. It would be the first meal they had together as a group in nearly three months. Admiral Ethan Clark sat down and reflected on his life, still more empty than it should have been but feeling more settled than he had in years. This would be home for at least five years and for some reason that was very comforting.

Starbase 342, Officers Quarters

Colonel Will Hancock was an oddity among the senior command staff in that he did not have a family. Tremendously young for his rank, at a mere 29 years old he was the equivalent of a captain, his formative youth had been during the war. Fighting as a Lieutenant fresh out of the academy he had seen some of the hardest fighting there was.

In particular his unit had been tasked to seize an outlying defense outpost during 2nd Fleets attempt to retake Betazed. He had sufficiently impressed then Rear Admiral Clark enough that he was brought in to this new project nearly from its inception. Clark tolerated his lack of patience for what Hancock called "brass and bullshit" because he got results.

The reality of it was Clark had probably saved his career. After leading small units during the war peacetime had eaten away at him. Returning to a ship and serving as a security officer seemed mundane. Worse than that he simply could not learn to adjust to being at the whims of whatever captain he happened to get assigned to and before he had gotten hooked up with the Admiral he had considered leaving Starfleet which seemed to have five officers giving orders to one enlisted man in every department.

His new assignment suited him well. Being a new organization the Fleet Marine Force had little in the way of red tape. He reported to two people, the commandant of the FMF and Admiral Clark. He commanded 20,000 men spread across the fleet along with a detachment on the Starbase and got to spend the majority of his time training his men. The Admiral kept him happy by mostly leaving him alone.

As he entered his furnished, but utterly undecorated quarters he walked around to make an initial examination. His paltry possessions had been beamed aboard in two small boxes. One contained nothing but military history books handed down through his family. The other contained a pet turtle that somehow had survived all these years from the Academy.

With his things, such as they were, settled in his room Will decided to head off to see what passed for entertainment on this starbase. On ships he had made a habit of wandering all the spaces while collecting his thoughts. Even with a good portion of 5 years he doubted he would ever see all of this place but he figured he might as well start with the bar.
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Re: A Star Trek Story

Postby BigJKU316 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:18 pm

September 4th, 2387

Office of the President, Earth

Andreas Rall was an atypical man for his position for despite its openness as a society many in the Federation still suffered from a basic distrust of telepathic species. Andreas had been leading a fairly normal political career as the minister of internal affairs on Betazed when the Dominion War and the occupation had changed everything. Away from the planet when it fell he lobbied incessantly for its liberation, which led to his first association with what would later be known as the Defense Movement.

The Federation lacked organized parties in a traditional sense. The mass movement of information had rendered traditional party apparatus obsolete. For the most part within the Federation the citizens and legislators were in broad agreement on principals and goals. The majority of contentious political issues ended at each planet.

The Defense Movement changed some of that. After the war many of the planetary leaders who had been outspoken about providing a more robust defensive capability to the Federation were elected to the Federation Council. For years a stalemate had emerged that was only shaken by the Scimitar incident. In the following year those associated with the Defense Movement were swept into office and obtained a super-majority on the Federation Council.

Rising to the Presidency was a capstone achievement for Rall. His first term had been relatively quiet and he had won re-election comfortably. The second, and final, term was just getting underway and what he had on his desk promised to make things substantially more interesting.

"I still am not sure I am buying this. The Romulans are approaching the Klingons and the Federation regarding a three party arms control agreement," said Rall to his assembled cabinet.

"It is highly unusual," replied Secretary of State Trelen "However with the Romulans there is always some sort of angle or deeper play behind what they publicly let on. Problem is none of my people have any idea what it is," continued Trelen as he rubbed his distinctive Denoublian ridges in frustration.

"Minister Sarnak, do we know anything about what the Romulans are up to?" asked Rall.

"We know they have been going full speed to rebuild their fleet, just like everyone else since the Dominion War. They are doing a pretty good job of it. Our estimates are that they are building between 200 and 250 major ships each year. In short they are doing a far better job than the Klingon's but they don't really come close to matching what we have been able to do," replied Sarnak.

"We know we shook them up when we revoked the cloaking provision of the Treaty of Algeron as well," added Trelen.

Andreas weighed all of these things against one another in his head. The Romulans were somewhat isolated from the rest of the major powers being nearly surrounded by Federation and Klingon territory. The Federation had rather more security concerns sharing borders with the Cardassians, Tholians and Gorn. Additionally the Breen were not far away and the Delta Quadrant Wormhole would always be a concern as well. Not to mention the Borg.

"It is just not workable. I think it is a good sign from the Romulans that they want to talk, but it is not practical unless the other major powers are involved," stated Rall.

"Be that as it may I think we have to go and at least listen to them. The principals of the Federation demand that we at least give this sort of idea its due," countered Trelen.

"We are going to open a lot of old, internal wounds in the Federation when word of this gets out. Politically once we agree there may be too much pressure to back away from it, even if it is a bad deal for us. I say we consent to go on the condition that the Breen, Gorn and Tholians are a part of the negotiations. Starting short of that will just compromise our position politically," stated Sarnak.

"I agree with the Defense minister. We should signal our willingness to attend any conference but make those the conditions precedent to any Federation participation. Let the Romulans do the legwork to get them there," concluded Rall for the group.

September 4th, 2387

Romulus, Senate Chambers

"The Federation has responded to our request for a conference Pro-Consul Retal," said a voice coming in over the communications panel in his office. "They say that unless we can involve the Breen, Tholians and Gorn that they simply could not agree to anything."

Retal simply closed the circuit after hearing that. The upcoming conference was the most crucial endeavor of his administrations tenure. Politics on Romulus were nasty at their best of times. Recently they had become outright brutal. The military had been pushing him for a strike on the Federation for over a year citing intelligence that showed a growing gap in the strength of the two powers.

Retal had seen the worst of war during the Dominion War and badly wanted to avoid the deaths of millions more of his people. However time was running short for him. Three of his ministers had died in the past two months. There were few left even in his own office that he could trust.

"Is there anywhere to go from here?" he asked his Foreign Secretary.

"We could go back to the Tholians "replied the Secretary.

"And what about the Breen?" interrupted Retal in agitation.

"They won't agree to anything that involves the Federation. More than that the Federation has no reason to agree to something like this. One cannot rationally agree to arms limitations unless all the parties of concern to their security are involved, which is something we can't offer them," stated the Foreign Secretary.

Retal looked down in frustration, and then nodded. The galaxy would be much simpler if everyone was more forthright about things. Instead everyone mirrored their own motives onto the actions of their perceived enemies. In truth the Romulans were terrified of the Federation. It was growing stronger by the month. His intelligence reports were filled with fantasy ideas of Federation invasions, because that is what his military people would do if given the chance. To combat this the Empire had nearly bankrupted itself in an attempt to keep pace with the substantially larger and much richer Federation.

That the shipbuilding effort was no long sustainable was apparent to all in the government. How to react to that was where the future of the Empire and indeed the quadrant would be decided. The military establishment was simply too strong to be ignored. He either had to find a way to close the growing gap in power with the Federation peacefully or there would be some sort of war.

This had been his last attempt. He had little doubt there would now be a coup by the military. Senator Mendek, the leader of the most aggressive faction of Senators, was likely to be installed. Retal knew he would be lucky to survive; such was life in the Romulan Empire.

"What if we send Senator Mendek to negotiate with the Breen? That would solve two problems at once. It would buy us time and it forestalls any coup effort so long as he is not on Romulus. Politically it is something he can't turn down," thought Retal aloud.

"That is an interesting concept, though I am not sure how he could have more success than those we have already sent," replied the Foreign Minister.

"It never hurts to try, it will buy us a few more months at the very least to try to get control of the military," concluded Retal. "Draft the order for Senator Mendek today."

September 5, 2387 0700 GMT (Stardate 64677.39)

Flag Level Ready Room of the USS Lexington

The three days at Starbase 342 had left all the crews in 1st fleet in high spirits. Yesterday marked the formal turnover of responsibility for the station from 3rd fleet. This would be the first of what would be daily briefings for senior staff and Admiral Clark wanted to make sure he set the right tone. The senior flag officers were all present. Joining them by remote were the major component commanders of his fleet.

"Ok, let's get started. I want to move through this each day as rapidly as possible. There is real work for all of us to get done and to do it we need to get out among our people. We are going to start every meeting with a report on our own conditions and deployment from Rear Admiral Sofin. After that I would like Commodore Ellis to give a run down of our logistics situation. After that we will hit the rest of the departments in order, communications, electronic countermeasures and ground operations if you have anything and finally we will finish up with intelligence and threat assessment from Commander Zukhov. If anyone else has anything specific to their task force we will pick that up at the end," stated Clark while gesturing to Sofin to begin.

The Vulcan Rear-Admiral moved quickly through the deployment and situation of 1st fleet. For normal operations it was divided into four task forces composed of 6 Independence Class Battleships, 8 Sovereign Class Battle Cruisers, 8 Akira Heavy Cruisers, 16 Prometheus Class Destroyers and 24 Defiant Class Frigates. The fleet was deployed in a position where it was within a four days travel of both Earth and Vulcan and less than 10 days from Alpha Centauri. This positioning was designed to keep 1st fleet closer to the Federation core than anything crossing the borders. It would take ships crossing the border from Romulan space at least two weeks to reach Earth or Vulcan.

An added bonus of this position was that in put 1st fleet within a little over a weeks travel time from the Deep Space 9, the Bajoran Wormhole and the Cardassian border. Though technically not 1st fleets area of responsibility it was certainly an area of concern for the Federation.

"At present task force alpha is proceeding to Starbase 621 on the border of the Tzenkethi Confederation for a routine visit and to bring in some new equipment to the station. From there they will continue on to Deep Space Nine where they will conduct a training operation where they will serve as aggressors against the station and its defensive forces. Task force beta is going to make a stop at Vulcan as part of a Starfleet exhibition there in early December, for now they are conducting routine patrols of the area. Delta and epsilon are both in this system with Delta on a scheduled maintenance stand down. That should be completed by the end of this week at which point Epsilon will make a quick trip over to Peliar Zel in preparation for deployment when task force beta returns at the end of the month to prepare for their visit to Vulcan," stated Sofin in the dry manner vulcans are given to speak in.

"This is the kind of pace we are going to operate at all the time. You will spend two months deployed, followed by a month where you have maintenance stand down and technical training. Then you will start working up for deployment again over the next month," chimed in Admiral Clark. "Our mission here is both defensive and training. We are going to train against one another and we are going to train other Federation and allied forces that are in the area. I want everyone staying sharp because we are supposed to be the pointy end of the stick for the Federation in these parts. If there is trouble we are getting the first call. Operations I want you to make sure every task force gets a full exercise in against another task force at least three times a year. That is in their ships with all crew involved, just like we did a few days back rather than just working the command crews in the holodecks. Keep crews in the holodecks working on things we can't simulate in space quite as well. We will exercise the whole fleet as often as we possibly can, but that is a bit more difficult as we have to find a suitable force to exercise against. One last thing, when we go up against other Federation forces in exercises winning is what is expected of this fleet. Part of our job is to train them; if you end up hurting feelings I will deal with that. Better to have hurt feelings in training than to be vaporized in real life."

Clark knew he was likely delivering a message that did not need delivering. He had handpicked all of the officers from Commodore on up, as well as most of the ship captains. They all were very aggressive and driven people. Everyone responsible for a section or division on up had seen at least one major combat action where they were in command during the Dominion War, most had seen several. They really were the best the Federation had to offer and they had trained hard to get better than any of them had been before. Much like they had against 3rd Fleet they would inflict many humbling results on the Federation units they would train against, but in a real war that would save lives, which is all that really mattered.
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Re: A Star Trek Story

Postby BigJKU316 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:11 pm

November 11th, 2387 1300 GMT (Stardate 64860.95)

Cardassia Prime

"It is with great pleasure that today we can restore full governing authority to the people of Cardassia and the newly elected Detapa Council," stated Ambassador Nguyen to the assembled media and crowd of dignitaries. This was simply the culminating event in the long process of rebuilding and re-shaping the Cardassian Union after the Dominion War. Federation and Romulan forces, the Klingons had turned their sectors over to the Federation stating they were not suited for such duty as peaceful occupation, had held all major planets in the aftermath. Turning them over one by one to the civilian authorities as planetary, then regionally and finally the Cardassian Union government itself was reconstituted.

Things were far better than they had been in the early days of the occupation. Despite desperate attempts to feed them all millions had starved or died of disease and illness on the devastated worlds of the Union. The population levels were still only about half of what they had been at the outset of the war and industrial production was just enough to support internal needs. However food and power production was now sufficient that no one would go hungry. Medical facilities had been restored to adequate levels to take care of the people that were there and the economy was on a solid enough footing that it could grow and expand over the years to come. The last two years had seen somewhat of a moderate baby boom across Cardassian space. As conditions improved for the first time since the well before war more Cardassians were born than died.

In short, it looked like the Cardassian people were going to make it. That being the case it was time for Starfleet and the Federation to go.

"Captain, thank you for attending the ceremony, I take it you are headed out shortly?" she asked Captain Colburne of the USS Trafalger.

"Yes, we are taking home the last of the non-embassy people with us. Starfleet has been pulling ships out of Cardassian space and handing security duties over to the Union for about two months now. We leave in an hour and are the last ship out," stated Colburne.

"Have a good trip Captain, don't forget about us out here," the ambassador said with a nervous smile.

With that Colburne contacted the Trafalger and the last of the non-embassy staff on the planet were beamed up. A week later Trafalger was the last ship of 9th Fleet to leave Cardassian space.

December 2nd, 2387 0730 GMT (Stardate 64917.82)

Flag Level Ready Room of the USS Lexington

"Looks like 4th Fleet got a bit more aggressive in this go round at Deep Space 9," remarked Admiral Clark. Admiral Sofin had just finished his briefing on the fleets operation. Task Force Delta had run into a nasty surprise as 4th Fleet had doubled the number of ships at DS9 for this exercise. A feint towards Bajor proper had left Delta split and they had suffered heavily for it before rallying and getting their simulated kill on the station. The good news is that after performing badly in the first two simulations the other Federation units were getting much better. The bad news was that it meant his team would have to work all the harder to keep their attention.

The briefing moved on quickly as logistics, ground operations, communications and electronic counter measures had little to report, which was normal in a non-combat situation. The briefing came to Commander Zukhov who was giving the long threat assessment and intelligence briefing as was the usual course on Monday. Unlike the rest of the week where the subject matter was limited to 1st Fleets immediate area of responsibility this briefing would cover the whole of the Federation.

"Of immediate concern in our area is the redeployment of 9th fleet. They have finished their pullout from the Cardassian occupation and are currently based out of Starbase 11 near O'Ryan's Planet. Their immediate responsibility runs from the Penthara sector all the way around the border with the Cardassian Union to Betazed. 4th Fleet is still responsible for everything from Deep Space Nine around to Betazed," explained Zukhov as he illustrated on map.

"9th Fleet is in pretty bad need of refits and upgrades. It was overworked during its occupation duty. About half of their strength is headed towards various shipyards for overhaul. That is an awful lot of space to cover with just a shade under 200 starships but we don't anticipate any issues with the Cardassians. What ships they had left over after the war have not been well maintained. What they do have is aging equipment that badly needs to be replaced."

"2nd Fleet has been declared operational, though they are still technically working up. They are deploying to Alpha Centauri in the short term to orient them somewhat towards the Romulan facing side of the Federation core systems. Their permanent home is likely to be Starbase 718 once the 3rd Fleet finishes up taking possession of their ships and conducting shake down cruises over the next six to twelve months."

"The Romulans won't care much for that," remarked Admiral Clark. Starbase 718 was the closest major installation the Federation had to Romulus other than listening and defensive post on the neutral zone itself.

"Be that as it may they are going to have to get used to it. 3rd Fleet will likely be based at the new starbase being built a few light years from Alpha Centauri as it is right along the most direct route from Romulan space to Earth and Vulcan. So long as they don't cross the border they won't get their nose thumped," countered Admiral Sofin. Nodding in agreement Clark gestured for Zukhov to move on.

"Anyway, in addition to 2nd Fleet near the core the Romulan border is being watched by 5th, 6th and 8th Fleets arrayed in the following manner," he said while gesturing to the map. "For the most part they are well back of the border."

"7th Fleet is deployed all the way up at Starbase 514 to keep an eye on Breen space. There is not a whole lot up there so they are a bit under strength but even all the way out there it is a long way to Breen space. We are actually closer, but the Cardassian Union and the Ferengi Alliance territory is in between us and them."

"Finally we have 10th and 11th Fleets down by Tholian and Gorn territory. They have nearly as much territory to cover as everyone else put together but it is sparsely populated down in those regions and neither of those groups seems to pose much threat," concluded Zukhov.

"What is the overall status of Starfleet?" queried Admiral Clark. He had not kept up with the pace at which the fleet was being rebuilt from the Dominion War as busy as he had been getting 1st Fleet up and operational.

"Ship construction has continued at a rapid pace since the end of the Dominion War. The pre-war fleet numbered nearly 9,000 major ships plus nearly double that in shuttles, runabouts, auxillaries and attack fighters. We lost nearly 60% of our overall numbers during that conflict. In the 12 years plus since we have placed into commission just about 5,000 ships last time I checked. That has the fleet over the 9,000 ship mark once again. There is currently a bill in committee with the council that would raise our authorized strength to 15,000 active and 5,000 ready reserve ships. It is likely to pass though the pace of construction will likely slow over the next decade in an effort to avoid block obscellence issues."

"A general breakdown of the fleet would be as follows. 4th through 11th Fleets manage nearly 5,800 ships though they can't muster nearly those numbers in any reasonable time. The majority of those ships are Nova types, lighter combatants such as the Steamrunners or older ships. Each administrative fleet does maintain a small task force to deal with any major threats to security in its area but in most cases this consist of a few dozen ships at most."

12th Fleet is the exploration command and like us it really has no assigned territory to cover. They just pushed their numbers over 3,000 ships under Admiral Picard. They took on the Luna Class ships pretty quickly plus they have a slew of older legacy designs in pretty good numbers. Many of these ships are operating beyond the Federations borders"

"The turnover of the combat fleets into almost all new equipment has freed up a lot of more capable designs such as the Galaxy and Nebula class to serve in the patrol and exploratory roles for which they were designed. For the first time in a nearly twenty years Starfleet will be retiring ships at the end of this year as 3rd Fleets Miranda Class ships are scheduled to be scrapped. Production efficiency under the new shipbuilding program has enabled that to happen earlier than we had hoped."

"Explain that a bit please," said Clark sounding oddly annoyed.

"Prior to the Dominion War we were building over a dozen different classes of starship. We had in service nearly three-dozen different classes. Production facilities have been expanded and modernized and at the moment we are building just Independence, Sovereign, Akira, Redemption, Prometheus, Defiant, Nova, Intrepid and the new Excelsior Class ships. The Akira line is winding down as the Redemption/Excelsior line is ramping up. Those two share a large portion of their space frame so within a year or two there will be just seven types of ships being built until the Defiant replacement program gets up and going."

Clark thought about that with a hint of satisfaction and anger. He was happy that no one would be expected to go into harms way on ships more than a century old but a part of him was still bitter that he had lost a child so the Federation could learn that lesson. Incomparably rich compared to the other Alpha and Beta quadrant powers it bordered the mis-matched nature of Starfleet and the reliance on old equipment had been almost entirely an issue of complacency.

"Ok, lets move onto what the other powers are up to," ordered Clark after taking a moment to collect his thoughts.

As he figured the answer was basically some combination of not much and we don't have any clue depending on the power. For the Klingons it was mostly the former, for the Romulans and Breen it was pretty much the later. It should not have been surprising, the damn Vulcans did not even understand their pointy-eared cousins and the Breen were just the Breen. No one had really talked to or about them before the war and for damn sure they were not talking to anyone since it concluded.

With that the meeting adjourned and real work could start being done.

December 3rd, 2387 1300 GMT

Utopia Planetia Shipyards, Banquet Facility

The Sol system seemed to be bursting with ships. Utopia Planetia had doubled in size during and just after the Dominion War. In addition long idle surface yards on Earth had been revived. New orbital construction facilities were created around the moons of Saturn as well. Similar events had occurred at the Federations other major ship building facilities around Vulcan, Andoria, Alpha Centauri and Tellar Prime. The list of ships under various states of construction here numbered into the hundreds as the Sol System alone was producing nearly 200 new starships of various types each year.

By far the most numerous that could be seen out of the large viewing windows were Defiant Class escorts, followed by Prometheus Class destroyers. The former were essentially built on assembly lines shore side before being lifted to the orbital yards for assembly. Much had been learned from the Dominion War. While the new Defiant class ships were not quite as tough as their hand built ancestors they more than made up for it in numbers. Utopia Planetia alone completed nearly 60 of those every year. The total production Federation wide was nudging over the 120-ship mark as more and more efficiencies were found.

That was crucial as the Dominion War had shown that losses in heavy combat situations occurred at a far higher rate than one could build the larger ships to which the Federation was so accustomed. The Defiant line was designed to be very scalable. The only real limitation was the number of workers you could get stuffing the sections together. The shore side plants were working single shifts, so the component production could theoretically support over 360 of the escorts being built each year without any physical expansion.

The other attention getters were the Independence Class ships. Looming much larger than anything else in the yard these took nearly four years from start to completion. At any given time to supply the 24 ships scheduled for commissioning by the fleet in a given year meant 96 of these ships were in various states of construction across the Federation.

In addition one could see dozens of Sovereign Class battle cruisers, Luna Class exploration cruisers, the last of the Akira Class ships being built and the first of the Redemption Class Heavy Cruisers that would replace them starting with 5th Fleet's re-organization.

Today however the star of the show was not one of the new combatant ships Starfleet was building. Externally it looked almost exactly like one of the new Redemption Class Heavy Cruisers would look, which was really just an enlarged Luna Class to begin with. What made it special was deep inside the ship.

The ship was NX-2000B and had as its namesake another great experiment. Today was her day.

"Twenty-Two years ago my crew and I set forth from this exactly location with a simple mission, to seek out new life and new civilizations. We covered tens of thousands of light years over the course of our mission. I now stand here to commission a vessel that promises to add more to our knowledge of the galaxy than all the ships that came before her. The USS Excelsior was considered the great failed experiment of the previous century. I stand here humbled by the journey that awaits this crew and their captain. They will travel further in weeks than most starships have in a lifetime. Captain Riker, I commend to you this ship and wish well to all those who travel aboard her," stated Admiral Picard, aged 82 years now, as the media began to pepper him with questions.

"Admiral, can you comment on your feelings on the continued militarization of Starfleet. Do you think it has lost its focus on peaceful exploration?" asked a reporter from Risa.

"We will have more ships on deep exploration missions by the end of this year than at any time in the history of the Federation. Those ships will be more capable and be allowed more dedication to their mission than at any time in our history. I cannot count the number of times the Enterprise-D was diverted from missions of exploration to deal with security concerns," stated Picard flatly.

"Oh come on Admiral, the Federation has been building warships as fast as it possibly can for a long time now, do you really expect people to believe you when " asked the Risan before being cut off.

"Let me ask you a question. Do you expect Starfleet to protect Risa from say the Borg or the Dominion?" asked Picard as the reporter nodded meekly. Before he could begin to talk the old Admiral continued. "Well then it is only fair that you provide those you ask to defend you with the means to do so."

"But Admiral, we won the Dominion War, and have defeated the Borg twice " said the reporter attempting to recover control of the conversation.

"And the result is the millions of names you can read on the walls at Starfleet headquarters. The obligation of Starfleet Command is to provide those who go into harms way with the best possible chance of success and survival. Unless of course you would like to write the dispatches to families that had their loved ones die aboard ancient equipment to satisfy your moral misgivings?" snapped Picard.

The press conference ended abruptly with that. Riker smiled as he walked across the gangway to his new ship with Picard.

"That got a little bit heated " he quipped at Picard.

It was rumored Riker would take over Starfleet's revamped exploration group within a year or two when Picard stepped down. Before that he would have the honor of commanding the first Federation ship equipped with a fully functional slipstream propulsion system, the USS Excelsior-B. His commanding officer once more wished him well, and with that the Excelsior set off for its first set of full-scale test.

December 3rd, 2387 1500 GMT

Bridge of the USS Excelsior

"Captain, we are exiting the Sol System now. All systems are reporting normal," reported the Lt. manning the helm as the Excelsior cruised out of the system at a leisurely Warp 5.

"Well ladies and gentlemen, what do you say we stretch our legs. Set our course for Starbase 342, Slipstream factor 3," commanded Captain Riker.

The warp scale had proven cumbersome to use at speeds regular ships were now achieving. For Excelsior it had proven essentially unusable. Technically they would be traveling at warp 9.99993. The new scale was not terribly scientific but it was easy to use on the bridge. Each factor represented one-hundred thousand times the speed of light. Fractions allowed for a more precise expression of how fast one wished to go. The theoretical upper limit for this first generation system topped out around one-million times the speed of light.

The transition was surprisingly smooth. Within a matter of seconds the ship was racing across space, faster than any Federation ship save the famous Voyager had ever gone.

"Sir, our estimated arrival time is 1534."

Riker could not help but be impressed. They were covering a distance that normally took about 4 days with the most modern starships in a matter of minutes. This would change everything.

December 3rd, 2387 1530 GMT

Starbase 342, Command Level

"Sir, long range scanners are picking up an incoming well an incoming anomaly. It is coming in from the Federation core. It is some sort of subspace distortion," reported ops.

Captain Talaras was not particularly alarmed but the new regime had put in standing orders. Unknown ships were to be met and escorted in. Starbase 342, like most major Federation Starbases at this point, had traded in some of its runabouts for a short squadron of six Defiant Class escorts to enhance security.

"Order the alert escort to launch and intercept identify it," ordred Talaras without looking up from his PADD.

"Sir, we are unable to plot an intercept course. It registers a speed for the inbound of just over 300,000 times the speed of light. It will be here before we can launch."

With that Talaras looked up at the tactical display. "Put the station on Yellow Alert, raise the shields. Can you tell me anything else about it other than it is a subspace distorition?"

"It is a looks like a high concentrated warp field, very compact and moving very fast. The sensors are having a tough time getting a detailed look at it due to its velocity."

The alert lasted less than a minute. The anomaly dropped its speed rapidly as it approached the system. Finally the anomaly appeared to collapse and a ship, clearly of Federation origin appeared. The chirp of the communications system indicated they were being hailed.

"Starbase 342, this is Captain Riker of the USS Excelsior requesting permission to enter and dock."

Talaras nodded to the communication officer to give them clearance and cancelled the yellow alert. The huge dock doors of the station began to open for the visitor as a stunned command staff tried to comprehend what they had just seen.

December 3rd, 2387 1800 GMT

Starbase 342, Admirals Quarters

"Will! It is good to see you. I haven't seen you since the Enterprise was towed back after the battle with the Scimitar," exclaimed Clark while embracing an old friend.

"That seems like a long time ago Ethan. You were a newly minted Vice-Admiral then and I was just getting my feet wet as a captain," remarked Riker. "Then I took off in the Titan for Romulan space for a time, before going on a deep space exploration mission of the Beta Quadrant."

"And then Picard roped you into working for him again," Clark poked.

The two were roughly equal in age, and had only been one class apart at the academy. Riker would have long ago made admiral had he consented to be moved off the Enterprise but Ethan knew he had few if any regrets about that. He poured a couple of drinks as the two sat down.

"In all honesty I am a bit jealous Will. Your ship will be at the forefront of Starfleet exploration for the next decade," remarked Clark.

"It will be an adventure, that much is certain, but you have an awful lot going on here. I would never have thought that the guy I went to Mardi Gras with back during our academy days would be in command of hundreds of ships," quipped Riker.

"Well, I do try to stay a little more sober these days. Regardless things out here are pretty boring. You don't run into a lot of unknowns this close to the core. Our job really is to keep it that way, the last thing we need is another major war on our doorstep," stated Clark, getting more serious now. "You ought to be thankful you missed the worst of it Will. 7th Fleet the fight to Cardassia Prime hell even Cardassia Prime itself."

"Hey, its not like we were out exploring gas clouds or anything, we had a little run in with the Borg and got our taste of the Dominion War as well," countered Riker.

"Do you know how many men died directly under my command?" Clark asked as if he had not even heard him. Riker shook his head. "Eighteen-thousand four hundred and seventy-two. I saw tens of thousands more die during the war and I lost two children," pausing to think for a second Clark saw that Will clearly did not know what to say.

"I am sorry, I should not unload that on you. It is just that Alisha can never really understand and everyone else here works for me in one fashion or another," said Ethan. Riker, despite being at the station, was still under Picard's command so that made this a conversation between friends rather than a commander and his subordinate.

"Don't bother apologizing. No amount of training can prepare you to be the ultimate decision maker in situations that get people killed. Hell, I am married to a Betazoid counselor and I still have plenty of bad days...It is surprisingly lonely at the top..." explained Riker knowingly.

The two men sat lost in thought for a while before Will broke the silence.

"You need to come visit the Excelsior and take a ride. We are going to be around for a while operating out of this base because it is a pretty secure area of the Federation and is far enough away that we can test the ship without others picking us up on long range sensors," said Riker in an attempt to break the tension.

"Yeah, I do. How fast can your new toy go anyway?" asked Clark even though he had been fully briefed. Ship captains always knew more about what was realistic than those who built them.

"We are rated for a million times the speed of light. Though we have only done about a third of that so far. The propulsion system itself is capable of much more, like an order of magnitude faster, or so I am told. The limiting factor here is not how fast we can go but how fast and far we can scan and clear the space through which we are traveling," said Will.

"Hmm, I wonder what the chances are we can retrofit our existing ships with that technology " pondered Clark.

"They are looking into it, last time I checked they figured most of the newer ships could do it, the Sovereigns and Independence classes for sure. The Prometheus Class should work out as well, but probably only when the whole thing is put together. It won't work on the Akira or Defiant types though, something to do with the field geometry," said Will.

The prospect intrigued Clark. It was something he was well briefed on but Riker would know more about as he had been with the Excelsior since she was laid down a few years back. But that was more than a few years away, first the Excelsior had to run through a batch of test, then the converted ships would have to be tested, then they would need to find yard space to do all the refits.

"I can see your mind working through the problems Ethan. You spent too much time in the yards brining order to our shipbuilding program my friend," observed Will. At that thought they both shared a laugh. Ethan insisted on inviting the whole of the Excelsior's senior staff onto the station for a formal welcome with 1st Fleets command group. The two agreed to a time and Will departed back to his ship.
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Re: A Star Trek Story

Postby BigJKU316 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:38 pm

December 6th, 2387 2230 GMT

CUW Klakar, en route to Arawath on the Cardassian-Breen border at Warp 7

The Cardassian Union Warship Klakar had been operating on a routine patrol since the Romulan occupation forces had left this area about two-months ago. The Romulan occupation had not been as kind as the Federation one. While they had not rampaged and killed the Romulan forces had done little to rebuild their former enemy. As a result the Klakar had been carrying food replicators, doctors and medical equipment back and forth from Cardassia Prime. This was its 5th such trip.

Maintenance had long been deferred on the old Galor Class ship. The war had been hard, but the peace had been even harder. To keep alive their people the remaining ships of the Cardassian military had run supplies and aid almost without pause for well over a decade. The JemHadar had left little industry standing. The first few years had been the worst, but the workload had hardly slowed down. As the Federation pulled back its commitment someone else had to pick up the slack.

The Klakar was among the most overworked of the ships. Running medical supplies from Cardassia Prime, which had been thoroughly rebuilt with Federation help, to Arawath, which had been in the Romulan occupation zone and was on the edge of Cardassian space was a necessary if not boring duty. Over time elements of the sensor arrays and shield emitters burn out and that was the case here.

Three Breen attack ships opened fire on the Klakar, which was hit without warning. The ship never even fired a shot in return.

December 8th, 2387 1300 GMT

Cardassia Prime, Detapa Council Meeting

Democracy took some getting used to. For as long as anyone could remember Cardassia had been ruled by Guls and Legates. The idea of having an elected president was very different, just like everything else in the post-war world.

"Thank you for your report Minister. It sounds like the recovery is continuing which is good news. Defense Minister, you have the floor."

"The vast majority of our ships continue to be used ferrying aid supplies around the Union. We have a few ships deployed for border security, mostly to keep any potential piracy at bay. We have finally taken about 10% of the fleet out of service for long overdue maintainence work and none too soon at that. We have lost five ships in the past month to unknown causes that are most likely related to overwork. Most recently the Klakar became the third ship to disappear making the run to Arawath," reported Defense Minister Dergar.

"We are actually facing a supply shortage on the colony located there. They have enough to make it through this month, but if another supply ship experiences a failure then they will be on half-rations until one can get through."

"Thank you interior minister. We are planning on sending a larger convoy of ships there to make up the shortfall from recent malfunctions. We have a Keldon and two Galor class ships just coming out of their refits that should be more than adequate to carry the necessary supplies," remarked Dergar as the interior minister nodded his head.

"As to a more general picture of the fleet it is bleak. As you all know we entered the war with about 2,500 major ships. Just a bit over 600 remain but very few of those are in good shape and none would be considered high-end combatant ships in the Alpha Quadrant anymore even if they were. We have just started to get the worst of them into the maintanence depots for overhaul. Overall shipments of supplies will have to drop or we risk having our fleet fall apart in space."

"I never thought I would say it but it is a good thing that the Federation is on our border. We are in no shape to defend ourselves if it came to that. For once I am glad they are between us and the Klingons and Romulans," commented Chairman Remlek.

"Be that as it may at some point we need to address our defensive needs."

"Right now it is all we can do to provide basic needs to our citizens Minister. It will be some time before we can do much other than try to maintain your fleet."

And that was the reality of life in the Cardassian Union. Always one of the poorer major powers in the quadrant the war had done them few favors. For now the old ships would have to soldier on.

December 12th, 2387 1930

Earth, Presidential Residence, Ball Room

Regardless of if Rall liked it or not politics took up took up a huge amount of the president's time. While to him it seemed as if there were thousands of other useful things he could be doing his chief of staff was always reminding him of the fact that without the support of the council and its members he could not get done things he felt were important, such as the bill that had just been passed to expand the size of Starfleet over the next decade or so.

None of this lessened his annoyance with state dinners. He had already been cornered by a variety of people with their various issues, almost all of which he could do little about for any number of reasons and without exception were far more important to the local representative than they were him. He had just gotten away from the representative from Tellar when the council member from Benzar approached him.

"Mr. President, I had been meaning to talk to you about the continued lack of action on the price of magnesite. We need your support to put a tariff on the import of this good from the Cardassian Union or the price drop will continue to put my people out of work and we need to know what you are going to do about it" exclaimed the very worked up councilmember.

The truth was that Rall could no more control the price of magnesite by tariff than he could by any other means. All a tariff would do is hurt legitimate Cardassian companies and force the trade to go into the black market, which would have a negative effect on stability for the Cardassian government which the Federation did not want all while funneling money into the hands of illegitimate traders, which the Federation also did not want.

Of course he could not say that directly because this council member had supported legislation that the president considered important and if he wanted him to do so in the future he had to at least pay lip service to helping him with this issue.

"If we push for a tariff no one is going to win. It will simply start a trade war and destabilize the Cardassian Union at a time when they are just trying to get back on their feet," replied Rall. The councilmember started to speak but before he could get started Rall raised his hands to quiet him and continued. "What I can do is included you as a special adjunct to the diplomatic team we are sending to negotiate the economic and trade treaty with the new government there and I think if you ask the economic specialist going along they could probably help you get directly in touch with the mining groups in Cardassia to negotiate some sort of arrangement to stabilize prices. After all, they have the same vested interest in this as you do."

With that another non-crisis was adverted and the councilmember was satisfied and at least for the moment out of Rall's hair which was the most important thing. It would undoubtedly give the Bureau of Planetary Treaties staff yet another headache to have him along and a few years ago Rall would have felt bad about doing that but the reality of it was this was the only way he could get the real work accomplished. He checked his watch as he saw yet another politician, this time the governor of some colony he could not recall, approach, wondering if it was quitting time yet. Before they could begin to speak a member of the presidential security detail pulled him aside.

"Sir, Secretary Trelen needs to speak with you, he says it is a priority."

Thinking anything had to be more interesting than this party Andreas took his leave and headed for his personal office on the 3rd floor of the residence.

December 12th, 2387 1930

Presidential Residence, Office

"Please provide your security code to access this channel," chirped the computer voice as he sat down at his terminal.

"Rall, Baker, Delta, Zulu, Tango," replied the surprised President. He was in his office, only the most secure channels necessitated he enter such a code and they were hardly ever used when communicating within his own quarters, which were highly secure themselves.

"Secretary, what can I do for you?" asked the president.

"Mr. President, Chancellor Martok is dying. Our former ambassador sent us the details just now. He spoke with the chancellor personally as the two are close friends but Martok is not expected to survive until morning."

This was not completely unexpected. Martok was an old man, even for a Klingon and had suffered numerous injuries in life, all of which had taken their toll on him. It had even been discussed the last time he was briefed on the goings on in the Klingon Empire by Starfleet intelligence. The problem, from what Andreas could recall, was that no clear successor had really emerged.

"So what does this mean for us?" asked Rall.

"Short-term, there is going to be a lot of instability in the Empire. There is no clear successor though there are likely two primary contenders we know of they will have to make a lot of deals with the houses to rally the support necessary to actually claim the Chancellorship," replied Trelen. "We know very little about the Arbiter of Succession except that they are reputed to be a fair person. They will confirm both challengers and it will come down to the High Council making the selection."

"The two primary challengers are Ambassador Durnad and Councilor Tareg. The later is well known to us, having served extensively in the Dominion War in joint operations. However the former is a bit of an unknown. He has served as the ambassador to the Romulan Empire most recently before his return to the High Council and we know he was an advocate of listening to the arms control proposal of the Romulans even though Martok would have none of it."

Andreas rubbed his temples as he tried to take it all in. The Federation-Klingon alliance was one of if not the most important feature of intergalactic politics in the Alpha and Beta quadrants. It had now survived several changes of power within the Klingon Empire, though the last two had been less than ideal.

"We need to get more people involved in this. I want to get you, Secretary Sarnak and Fleet Admiral Lee's together in the morning to go over the information we have and run through scenarios and potential responses depending on how this goes," said Rall as Trelen nodded his assent.
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