Star Trek: Aftermath (Klingon Phase)

Session 25: Taking Command

USS Marathon, Refit and a new crew….

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Transwarp domain space – the new final frontier. These are the voyages of the USS Marathon. Her multi-year mission is to seek out optimal entry locations, exit locations, build Stable Transwarp Conduits (STWC) between them, and do so without getting killed. To boldly go where most such ships have disappeared without a trace. Pulsar_Class_Exploration_Cruiser.JPG Her crew is made up of the finest minds with relation to all phases of the STWC building process available. The officers and crewpersons of the Marathon are supplemented by 30 civilian specialists, support personnel to assist the Marathon in any potential encounters with the unknown. Together they will strive to create a vast network throughout the United Federation of Planets which will facilitate travel, trade, defense, and greatly reduce the environmental load the warp drives are placing on normal space.

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Theater Briefing

Klingon relations reached an all time high at the moment of the Dominion surrender and have been deteriorating at a progressively rapid pace ever since. Several incidents in Cardassian space have led to shooting matches between Klingon forces and Star Fleet.
Star Fleet’s diplomatic intervention in the Klingon/Romulan conflict following the “Nemesis” incident were viewed by the hawks among the Klingon Empire as interference in their “right to make war” and portrayed Chancellor Martok as a weakling in the pocket of the Federation. Their masterful use of propaganda related to the event led directly to the ascension of Chancellor Kur’gek to the head of the Klingon Council after killing Chancellor Martok in a dual. The loss of Martok was a strong blow to Federation/Klingon relations and Kur’gek has ridden higher and higher on the political capital he and his cronies manufacture at the expense of the Federation.

Having fully consolidated his power, the imminent supernova of the Hobus star was a gift on a silver platter for Kur’gek. Roughly 50% of Klingon forces had secretly assembled along the border, ready for the moment of greatest weakness and assaulted across shortly before the supernova event of the Hobus star. They overwhelmed the Romulan border defenses and plunged deeply into Romulan territory, attempting to take the new Romulan capital of Remii.
Joint Romulan/Vulcan and some Federation forces held the system from the Klingons after a protracted and viscous battle. At Romulas and Remus the Klingon forces attacked every non-Klingon ship that came within weapons range, including many unarmed Federation transport vessels providing humanitarian assistance. Thanks to the warning of the Romulan border defenses, enough warning was received for 2/3 of the Federation forces to vacate the system prior to the Klingon forces arrival.

While the future is unclear, what is clear is that the Klingons mean to end the Romulans as a power in the quadrant and have made their move at the worst possible time from the perspective of the Romulans. Without help, the Klingon gambit is likely to succeed and the Romulan Star Empire will fall.


Captain’s Orders:

GRADE ADVANCEMENT: Commander Morgan, as of stardate 2387.082 at 11:05 hours you are hereby promoted to the rank of Captain in the service of the Star Fleet of the United Federation of Planets, and accorded all the rights and privileges associated with this position. Congratulations. (If you fail you die. – Addendum for Klingon officers, if applicable).

ORDERS: Captain Morgan, you are hereby ordered to travel to the Cardassia Prime, Federation Drydock Facility 4, to arrive by Stardate 2387.0904, there to report to Facility Commander Captain Terrance Finstadd, and take command of USS Marathon NCC-72002, currently under refit at said facility. Complete such remaining refit and repair as is necessary and be underway no more than 2 days from accepting command. Move with rapidity to Starbase 74, there to take on additional crew and officers. The USS Marathon will undergo minor refit while at Starbase 74, receiving a type 36 sensor array modification to further its capabilities to complete the mission. Upon completion of sensor installation, move with rapidity to Rigel, and there take on remaining crew and officers. Report via subspace to Admiral Thoris Burtell, Starfleet Special Operations, Starbase 234 for assignment and official duties.


Ship’s orders:

STWC Exploration: USS Marathon, NCC-72002, is hereby transferred to Starfleet Special Operations Fleet 3 based at Starbase 234, under command of Admiral Thoris Burtell as of stardate 2387.0904 at 11:05 hours. USS Marathon is hereby ordered to proceed immediately to Rigel, there to begin without delay to conduct exhaustive surveys of space in the vicinity of Rigel and Starbase 234 and, if necessary, points in between towards the goal of establishing a Stable Transwarp Conduit between Regulus and Starbase 234. This mission is of highest priority to Starfleet, and the warp 6 speed restriction does not apply to the USS Marathon for the purposes of accomplishing this mission. Unlimited first priority access to the Federation Stable Transwarp Conduit Network is authorized for the duration of the missions of the USS Marathon.

STANDING ORDERS:
1. Observing the prime directive where it applies is the highest priority.
2. Protect the citizens, property, ships, trade, and sovereign territory of the Federation in the area of operation is the second highest priority.
3. Use diplomacy to resolve situations unless given no other choice, and then use the least amount of force possible to accomplish the above directives.
4. Seek a point in the Regulus system as close as possible to the Rigel/Regulus STWC endpoint from which to establish a STWC endpoint.
5. Seek a point near Starbase 234 from which to establish a STWC endpoint.
6. Create a STWC between these endpoints and verify stability and safety of said STWC.
7. Additional mission specific directives will be cut on an as needed basis through the office of Starfleet Special Operations Fleet 3 Adjutant, BAdm Fintes.
8. Under no circumstances will you allow this technology and/or related materials and records to fall into the possession of non-Starfleet hands and you will take any and all necessary measures, regardless of how dire, to ensure this.
9. Observe the following Rules Of Engagement:
..A. Federation ships shall not fire upon another ship unless first fired upon.
..B. This supersedes Rule of Engagement A in the event that engaging another vessel is necessary to accomplish the directives above, and then Federation ships shall use the least force necessary to accomplish the directive(s).
..C. When encountering superior numbers Federation ships will avoid contact, break contact, and/or withdraw from conflict if there are no considerations towards the directives above.
..D. When engaged in combat in the accomplishment of the directives above, Star Fleet vessels shall do their utmost to ensure they are meeting these directives, and shall not withdraw from conflict unless their continued presence can make no difference in the outcome. Captains shall exercise prudence to protect their ship and crews balanced against the accomplishment of directives.
..E. With all other directives satisfied, protect the ship and its crew above all other considerations.

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What Happened:

The Chief Engineer, Lt Cmdr Vegga Aece, Was the first senior officer to board the USS Marathon, arriving a full 9 days ahead of the others. He was greeted enthusiastically, if abruptly, by Captain Terrance Finstadd, commander of the Starfleet refit facility at Cardassia (yes, really) Prime. Cpt Finstadd had just finished dressing down (screaming at) one of his ratings, a very young (and smallish) caitian named Phipps for some alleged grievance that Phipps had committed.

The Starfleet refit facility consisted of a very small mobile habitat/office and 9 mobile docking facilities plus a number of enormous Starfleet shipping containers used for warehousing. The USS Marathon was in Dock #4.

Cpt Finstadd gave Vegga’s orders a cursory once over and had Phipps fly him over to the ship on a ‘Worker Bee’ construction pod. Phipps gave the Lieutenant Commander the full external tour of the ship, doing a full orbit around and then over and under the ship. The only real surprises were the pod in the ‘Roll Bar’ above the ship was clearly empty, and the bottom of the secondary hull where one would normally see the warp core ejection port was cored out in a circle through 4 decks and 9 meters across, leaving main engineering open to space.

Upon boarding Vegga made his way to the bridge, assumed on-board command as he was the ranking officer, and made his was to Main Engineering. There he met the Transwarp Engine Crew and the Transwarp Sensor Crew, technically part of engineering, who promptly introduced themselves and then informed him that they were not in his chain of command. They further briefed him that they would work efficiently with the engineering crew, but that now one in the engineering department, including him, had the clearance to be briefed on, read up on, touch, of interfere in any way with them performing their duties regarding either the Transwarp engines or the Transwarp sensor systems. This is when it became apparent to Vegga that this ship was to be equipped with Transwarp capabilities, as his orders and briefing had made no mention of it in any way.

Over the next several days the ship was tweaked, tuned, painted, polished, and given a new warp core. It was mounted to the decking that had been cored out from the secondary hull, and the entire thing was mounted to the Marathon as a single piece. An anti sensor field was placed around the core and decks and a tarp of some kind tossed over the core itself to prevent prying eyes. Installation was smooth and by the numbers, except for the parts that were not.

Things were starting to run smoothly when, suddenly, the Captain showed up, precisely on time. No one perished, though it was a near thing with Phipps.

The only incident was when Lt. Stilicho Th’azyron of Keth Idrani, the Security/Tactical Chief reported in. Captain Finstadd was again chewing out Phipps, whose fur on the left back side of his head was heavily smoking from some sort of burn. Not paying complete attention to what was happening in the worker bee shuttle with the stench of the still smoking Phipps, and Phipps being distracted for some reason, he delivered Lt Stilicho Th’azyron of Keth Idrani to the USS McKinley. Closely observing his surroundings Th’azyron noticed that this did not seem to be his ship. After a quick conversation with Captain Harkness, Phipps departed and delivered the LT to the Marathon after the obligatory fly around.

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1. Meet and greet: PC’s arrive, Chief Engineer first, Meet Facility Commander Terrance Finstadd, get refit briefing (cover the ship upgrades) if authorized, meet 3rd assistant Shipwright Phipps (very small very young caitian), tour ship, meet other PC’s and important NPC’s present, gets updates on crew arrival ETA’s at destinations.

There was much meeting and greeting and backgrounds were compared to see if the PC’s may have served together at any time. It seems the Captain and Lt Christina Williams, the Assistant Chief Engineer, um, did serve together and know each other at some point. It also seems that the Chief Engineer and Assistant Chief Engineer had met at a training school and did not much care for each other.

2. Refit complete end of first day, roughly 2am. Basic shakedown testing of new systems takes 1/2 day

The shields are tested under phaser fire from USS McKinley, starting at very low levels and progressing to higher levels with diagnostics in-between. Photon & Quantum torpedoes are launched at large asteroids (4 total are destroyed) designated for munitions testing. Systems check out, diagnostics are all in the green.

After receiving this news, and anxious to have the Dock #4 available for the next ship, Cpt Finstadd, with Phipps looking surly in the background, addressed the Captain via comms. “Cardassia Prime, Federation Drydock Facility 4, Terrance Finstadd commanding. I do hereby release the USS Marathon, NCC-72002, from this facilities care for Active Operations, transferring control to its Captain and crew so they may make for Starbase 74 in the Tarsus system. Smooth operations to you Marathon. Finstadd, out.”

Cpt Finstadd transfers the USS Marathon to Burtell after successful systems test

Arriving via tightbeam transmission from Cpt Finstadd’s “office”, Ship’s orders:
STWC Exploration: USS Marathon, NCC-72002, is hereby transferred to Starfleet Special Operations Fleet 3 based at Starbase 234, under command of Admiral Thoris Burtell as of stardate 2387.0904 at 11:05 hours. USS Marathon is hereby ordered to proceed immediately to Rigel, there to begin without delay to conduct exhaustive surveys of space in the vicinity of Rigel and Starbase 234 and, if necessary, points in between towards the goal of establishing a Stable Transwarp Conduit between Regulus and Starbase 234. This mission is of highest priority to Starfleet, and the warp 6 speed restriction does not apply to the USS Marathon for the purposes of accomplishing this mission. Unlimited first priority access to the Federation Stable Transwarp Conduit Network is authorized for the duration of the missions of the USS Marathon.

3. Set course for Starbase 134 via STWC chain with skeleton (mostly engineers) crew. A. 1.5 hours travel at Warp 2 (general speed limit within most star systems), 108.83 AU, to STWC entrance in Cardassia system and drop in, 1.24 hours to exit in Bajor system 6 LY Distance. B. 3 hours travel in Bajor system at Warp 2, 217.66 AU, to reach next STWC entrance, 4.33 hours to exit in Trill system 21 LY distance. C. 1 hour travel in Trill system at Warp 2, 72.55 AU, to reach next STWC entrance, 3.09 hours to exit in Draylon system, 15 LY distance. D. 2 hours travel in Draylon system at Warp 2, 145.11 AU, to reach next STWC entrance, 2.72 hours to exit in Tarsus system, 13.2 LY, near Starbase 74.

4. Layover here for 6 hours and receive sensor pod upgrade as per secondary order set, pick up 1/3 crew (various enlisted specialists), Department Heads, & 2nd Officer. Continue on journey.

Crisis of equipment failure, or was it?
Much of what took place is classified. The essence is that a device was used to disrupt the power systems and emergency forcefield system aboard the Marathon in Coridan space, traveling at warp 1 across that system towards the STWC to Rigel. The ship was stopped while repairs repairs were made, the device was disarmed and disconnected, and the ship was searched. Other devices were found, the investigation revealed the saboteur, and the devices were found to be of REDACTED origin.

Charlie, the ship’s counselor had a conversation with the suspect yielding the location of other devices that weren’t found. The work of the Chief SEC/TAC officer, with assistance from LtJG Curtix Na Zach, the Assistant Chief Science officer uncovered the identity of the suspect, and the captain and the chief engineer were both very involved in the quick resolution of the situation. An additional device was uncovered in the investigation that was not placed by the saboteur and it’s unclear whether all devices are found at this time.

5. Travel to Starbase 134 in Rigel. There meet Admiral Thoris Burtell in via subspace upon arrival at Starbase 134. Receive Captain’s briefing along with 1st officer.

Surprising the captain and officers of the Marathon, Admiral Burtell was waiting at Starbase 134 and comms the Marathon as they enter their holding position. This gives the officers no time to work on their investigation before the Captain and SO have to beam to the Starbase and meet with the Admiral.

The captain and SO are met at the beamdown point by Admiral Burtell’s officious little Adjutant, Branch Admiral Izzy Lefler (no image available), who escorted them to a meeting room where the Admiral and the ship’s XO, Cmdr Ano Merzek (image not available), was waiting for them.

Captain’s Briefing:
Transcribed from the logs of Admiral Burtell, Special Operations, Starbase 234 from her briefing of Cpt Morgan and command crew at Starbase 134. After meeting and greeting and typical pleasantries Burtell begins:

“There’s no sense in candy coating this gentlemen; your mission is extremely hazardous. You should know that, though we officially claim it to be 3, we’ve lost 5 ships already in this area attempting to do exactly the mission you’ve been assigned. The Klingons are a direct threat to you – they don’t want us in the Romulan/Klingon war. They know that if we enter, we’ll come in on the Romulans side of things. God, I can’t believe I just said that… Sorry, Captain. To continue…

“As much as they do not desire the Federation in the fight, they are preparing for the worst. They know what we’re up to out here, and in particular, what you’re up to out here. They know what a Transwarp Pulsar Class is and what it means if you succeed: It means a direct, high speed pipeline of Federation ships, personnel, and materials arriving on their doorstep, rolling in from the heart of the Federation to reinforce in a matter of a couple of days instead of several weeks. They are not enthused.

“With that sort of threat a distinct possibility, they can’t allow it to happen, but they can’t get caught doing it or they’ll push us towards an alliance with the Romulans. Therefore, there is every reason to believe that there are cloaked Klingon vessels in the area you’ll be working. Furthermore, there is every reason to believe that they had a hand in the disappearance of your 5 missing Transwarp sister ships.

“Your crew was selected for their capability, not their compatibility. You have some, ah, personalities among them, especially among your senior officers. They are all very skilled at what they do, the exact skills you’ll need to make this mission a success and help you overcome the unexpected. However, that typically carries with it an ego to match. It should be an eventful tour for your first command, and a strong challenge for your leadership and that of your command crew.

“Your ship is one of only 2 Transwarp vessels currently in Starfleet. In order to give you every chance of actually succeeding and not sharing the fate of your predecessors, you’ve had some upgrades to your vessel. The engines, of course, you know about. However, in addition to those, your shields are the very best available that we could fit on a ship of your class. Your computer cores have been updated to the most advanced systems in Starfleet, which is necessary for the last major upgrade, your sensors. From what we’ve been learning from your sister ship, the USS Pydna, operating out of Starbase 241, our closest star base to the Romulus system, we’ve made upgrades that will make your scanning much more effective and hopefully let you complete your mission more quickly.

“Support is available. This mission is critical and we are prepared to support you all we can. However, as you are moving through Transwarp space you’ll be outrunning any support we can give you and we’ll have no idea where you’ll re-emerge into normal space, or what will be awaiting you there. In the Regulus area is battlegroup 28 under the command of Captain Harlan Mattix on the USS Lynx, an Akira class cruiser. With him are the USS Huntley and the USS Ivanhoe, both Streamrunner class destroyers, and the USS Voodoo and the USS Wrath, both Spitfire class destroyers. As you can see, we’re making a strong commitment of hardware to your cause, for what it’s worth. Yes, we expect success, but more than that, it’s absolutely vital that we have it! Captain, can you get this done, are you the Captain for the job?”

“I wouldn’t be here if you and Starfleet didn’t think I was, Admiral”, was the captain’s cocky answer.

Ignoring the disrespectful attitude, the gallant admiral continued, “The star systems briefing transferred to your computer have the latest Starfleet Intelligence on the systems in the area – please avail yourself of it. If you need anything don’t be shy. You’ve got a priority ship on a priority mission – it doesn’t happen often, so enjoy it Captain! What are your questions? Very well, brief your people and go to work Captain. Questions?”

The situation with the people in engineering that aren’t officially under the chief engineer’s command was raised, and Burtell was surprised that Starfleet Intelligence was playing this in such a heavy handed manner. She confirmed that they are actually techs from Starfleet Intelligence, and that they are under the command of whomever the captain says they are under, though they didn’t bother to disclose that to anyone, nor did their orders require them to. Not to worry, she would address proper protocols when cutting orders with the SI Admiral in question, and the captain is free to operate his ship as he sees fit.

The situation with the sabotage was then brought up and the Admiral promised the Captain that he would be provided with whatever help he wanted, and to just let her know what he wanted.

“Very well then, good luck to you. Dismissed.”


Following the briefing with the admiral, the Captain, XO, and SO all had the opportunity to, at long last, meet each other.

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