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Fleet Asset Management I: Sector Gamma

Sample Answer by Dan Carlson

Question One

  1. Starfleet’s primary priority in the sector should be to maintain the peace that has blessed the region (on the whole) for the last few decades. Given the proximity to Cardassian territory (as indicated on the map that crossed my desk while I was shooting down those Driian bastards in Sector Beta — yeah, I’m bitter!), I was expecting that Sector Gamma would be a region laid waste by the war. Though relations are still developing with the Jovali and Jovalisi, it is important to build on the foundation that was established by the crew of the Rigorous.

    Specific measures to achieve that goal include:

    • Development and upgrade of the infrastructure in the Jovalisi colonies. (Already initiated, ongoing.)
    • Establishment of further trade relations with Joval, with the goal of a formal Federation-Joval alliance.
    • Strengthen relations with Lucrezea through trade and diplomacy.
    • Active patrol of the border with the Bifour IV breakaway colony.

    The former Cardassian colony is extremely worrying; these guys are essentially loose cannons who can and will do whatever the heck they want. I’m not an expert in international law and I’m not familiar with the fine print of the Treaty of Bajor (2375), but I’m sure that Bifour IV should still be considered part of the Cardassian Union. Hopefully those guys are smart enough to know not to try to run amok with three Galors and seven Hidekis — but then, I’ve just come from Sector Beta where some other hard-headed aliens just attacked superior defenses and made a major mess before getting the smackdown. I’m not about to make the same mistake again.

    The colony on Lucrezea is in an ideal position to become a lichpin in any future operations in the area near Bifour IV; therefore it shall be a priority to diplomatically increase Starfleet’s presence in the region. However, given that the colony is not a full Federation member we must tread carefully to not upset the local population, and also to ensure that our presence does not jeopardize them should hostilities break out.

    I voiced strong opposition to the Treaty of 2367 when it was first signed — the very idea of trading entire colony worlds in order to satisfy some stylus-pushers on the homeworld is not my idea of sound long-term diplomacy or strategy. As such, I would very much like to see the colony on Zechs returned to Federation control. This is more of a long-term goal given that the disposition of the planet is not likely to be addressed directly until the situation with Bifour IV is resolved; however, I would like to rectify the wrongs that were done, if possible.

    Regarding potential gaps in intelligence — accurate and timely information regarding the internal affairs of Bifour IV and Cardassia Prime are essential if the situation is to be resolved. Assuming these militarists on Bifour really do hold the so-called “ideals” of the Cardassian Empire, then I doubt that Bifour is really a very happy place. Intelligence missions should be initiated to:

    • Ensure that the leaders on Bifour are not preparing for any offensive or aggressive action either within or outside their territory, primarily by monitoring the activities of the known warships and military installations under their control.

    • Gather information regarding any weapons of mass destruction (conventional, subspace, or biological) which the Bifour IV leaders may posses or be in the process of developing.

    • Seek to gain information regarding any resistance movements on Bifour or its colony worlds.

    Also, diplomatic updates regarding the situation on Cardassia Prime and the new civilian government’s official position on Bifour are essential before any action could be taken.

    Note: I just hope that the recently-elected Federation President George Bush does not start blathering about Bifour IV as a member of an “Axis of Evil” and demand that the Federation launch a pre-emptive invasion to “ensure the safety of the Federation and the Galaxy.” :-P

    Finally, there’s the implicit priority to preserve the Prime Directive with respect to the pre-warp civilization on G’Sall. A five-light-year “no-fly zone” will be established around the system — which is standard Federation policy in many high-traffic regions containing pre-warp cultures. However, Starfleet can’t do much more than erect warning buoys and sensor relays at the moment. Once more starships arrive, there will be enough assets in the area to ensure enforcement of the NFZ.

  2. My first instinct is to upgrade Deep Space Twelve. First, the Jovali and Jovalisi strike me as a people who hold great import on precedent and tradition. As such, their former colony station, operated as a Federation Starbase, serves great use as a symbol of Federation presence and cooperation with the local inhabitants. Also, a systems upgrade on DS12 would be much more expedient than building an entirely new starbase. Finally, in my experience it is a better idea to have your seat of administration in the same area as the people you’re trying to administrate.

    Deep Space 12
    Image: Deep Space 12

    However, if the Federation is to expand operations further into the sector, it may be a better option to construct a second base of operations that’s centrally located in the sector. On the other hand, the construction zone for a new station is likely to be vulnerable to attack for a while. The primary reason for having a second base would be for operations against Bifour IV, but the situation is more than likely to be resolved before construction is completed. Furthermore, if hostilities break out before construction of the station is completed, then I’ll only have one extra location to defend with my limited resources.

    I shall order the upgrade to Deep Space Twelve. Which, as an O’Neil-type space station, probably looks something like the diagram off to the side. ;-)

    1. To: Fleet Admiral Mark Nguyen
      From: Rear Admiral Dan Carlson, Sector Gamma
      Re: Fleet Assets in Sector Gamma

      Today is Stardate 56076.7 (January 28, 2379)

      After reviewing the current political and historical background of Sector Gamma, and considering the current environment of the region, I hereby request that the following ships be assigned to my command:

      • 1 Andromeda-class light explorer
      • 2 Sequoia-class light cruisers
      • 2 Defiant-class or Saber-class destroyers
      Tactical Deployment Map 1.0
      Tactical Deployment Update 1.0

      Sector Gamma is currently assigned the USS Rigorous (Constellation-class, NCC-2732) and USS Cerberus (Akira-class, NCC-63709). USS Rigorous is scheduled to be decommissioned within three months.

      The Andromeda-class light explorer will be deployed to conduct scientific surveys of the Pink and Purple Nebulae, and sensor-intelligence sweeps of the border in the region near Bifour IV and Zechs.

      The two Sequoia-class light cruisers will be deployed as general patrol vessels in Sector Gamma, and as will provide defensive support in the Joval/Jovalis System should hostilities break out.

      Tactical Deployment Map 1.1
      Tactical Deployment Update 1.1

      The two Defiant-class or Saber-class destroyers will be assigned to combat patrol missions near Bifour IV and Zechs, and will form the primary tactical wing along with USS Cerberus should hostilities break out.

      Signed,
      Dan Carlson, RAdm02, SFCmd

      Attachments:

    2. Pending the allotment and deployment of further starship assets in Sector Gamma, I will deploy the USS Cerberus to patrol the border near Bifour IV and conduct preliminary intelligence sweeps. I will keep the USS Rigorous in the Jovalis system with the intention of collaborating with Captain Nall, to familiarize myself with the details of local institutions, politics, and facilities. I clearly have some big shoes to fill, as Captain Nall and her crew are without a doubt legendary, and have done wonderful work in this sector in the past 50 years. The Jovalisi are probably sad to see her go; if I can be visible and collaborate with her during the transition period, the public relations benefits with the public would be useful towards easing the process of bringing Jovalis into the Federation fold.

      I’d also make it a point to ask Captain Nall about her retirement plans. I certainly don’t intend to go running to her for help if I have any problems, but is she planning to return home to Bolarus, or is she going to settle on Jovalis, or Joval? (Cue Sisko’s voice: “I intend to build a house on Bajor...”)

    1. Hmm, this is an interesting question. The crew of the USS Cerberus has served admirably during the recent conflict with the Driians in Sector Beta. Given that they’ll be on the front line of any potential conflict with the Cardassians on Bifour, I’ll keep them where they are. Also, I expect that I may take a more administrative/diplomatic role in this sector, instead of charging around on the front lines like the last time. I’m no coward, and certainly intend to do my duty... but it’d be nice to be able to delegate for a while.

      First, I’d like to consult with Captain Nall regarding the reassignment of some of her crew members. (Of course, as the writer of this reaction I can’t “really” consult her, but that’s what I’d do if I really were the new Rear Admiral.

      I have nothing against Vulcans or Commander Stalek, but if he’s not too popular, I’d put him in for reassignment to another sector. Commander Boston seems to be the perfect candidate for the command of DS12 — he’s got the benefit of experience in dealing with the Jovalisi, and obviously had some experience in a command position. His diplomatic skills would be extremely useful in dealing with all of the local inhabitants, so I would anticipate that he would be my assistant/adjutant during any major diplomatic interactions in the future.

      Lieutenant Kardon seems inexperienced and I’m wary of her sentiments based on her background as a native of Zechs, which is now a Cardassian-occupied planet. Did she have any background with or sympathy for the Maquis? I notice that she joined the fleet in 2373 — just as the Dominion and the Cardassians were finishing their massacres. Nevertheless, I can use the benefit of experience here, and I’ll give her the Chief Tactical Officer position on any of the new ships (not the Cerberus).

      Lt. Commander Shezef’s science background would make him the perfect candidate for Science Officer of the Andromeda-class starship that I’ve requested. His area of expertise would be useful for the ship’s surveys of the two nebulae, as well as the intelligence-gathering sensor sweeps of the Bifour-occupied planets which I ordered in part A.

      Doctor Taris probably would appreciate a post on DS12, so she’ll get it. Starfleet’s policy on its officers serving in proximity to family members has been well-established by now, and I have nothing against that — although I’m a little concerned by her “fair” service record.

      Lt. Commander Bayl gets his choice of ship (again, aside from the Cerberus).

      Lieutenant Shumar also gets his choice of ship, but I would encourage him to choose one of the Defiant- or Saber-class starships that’s been requisitioned — I anticipate that that’s where his “legendary” piloting skills would be most useful. And I may put him in for a promotion. ☺

    2. In the interest of furthering relations with the Jovalisi, they get first dibs on the hull of the Rigorous. (I’m also partial to historical interests — I myself am listed as an official “Friend of the Starfleet Museum”.) However, I will put in a recommendation to Starfleet Command that they provide Lucrezea with another decommissioned starship should one become available — there are plenty of them around after the Dominion War, and I’m sure the Federation can spare one old Miranda...

Check out some additional material which I wrote up one quiet evening, and some calculations regarding travel times — on the Sector Gamma Extras page.

Question Two

Excellent! I’m glad Starfleet’s not short-changing me like they did back in Sector Alpha. Heh, that made things interesting, though...

Fleet Roster

Available Starships
Incoming Starships
  1. Available Starships
    • USS Cerberus (Akira-class, NCC-63702)
    • USS Rigorous (Constellation-class, NCC-2732)
    • 6 Danube-class runabouts
    • 15 Type-9 shuttlecraft
    • 11 assorted Jovalisi freighter craft, none with firepower exceeding Type-VII phaser emitters
    • 2 Anaitsirhc-class patrol cruisers (Jovali)
    • 4 Srewot-class patrol frigates (Jovali

    [Side note: I do not subscribe to the theory that the Akira-class is an absurdly overgunned cruiser with 15 torpedo tubes. I view it as a normal cruiser equivalent in mission profile to a Nebula-class with firepower approximately equivalent to a Galaxy-class.]

    Scenario One: Cardassian Assault on Joval System

    Threat Force: 2 Galor-class attack cruisers and 3 Hideki-class escort fighters

    The Cerberus is currently patrolling out near Lucrezea and would be in position to intercept or even outrun any attack force en route from Bifour. The Cerberus is instructed to make harrying runs against the threat force in passing but not engage directly. They will then proceed to Jovalis and rendezvous with the remainder of the fleet there.

    For this engagement, I will assume cooperation with the United Jovali Stellar Navy, as Starfleet has fought alongside them against the Cardassians in the past and the Bifour faction’s threat towards the system is not defined exclusively towards Jovalis.

    The Cerberus will assume point of the Starfleet task force with the Rigorous falling back as an escort for the Jovalisi freighters. Cerberus will engage the 2 Galor-class cruisers first and attempt to eliminate them or divert them in a limited frontal assault. Simultaneously, the Jovali heavy cruisers will strike the Cardassians’ flank with their strong firepower and provide a diversion, and the Jovalisi freighters and light craft will engage the Hideki-class escorts.

    Assuming that Cerberus does not eliminate both Galors by itself, the Jovali cruisers will then punch through and join the attack on the Cardassians’ center. The Jovali frigates will either provide fire support for the cruisers or assist in the dispatch of the remaining Hidekis.

    I am slightly concerned about the Jovali forces given their relatively limited technology, because their ships are slow and probably have some weak spots. But two cruisers with the equivalent of Type-XII phasers is nothing to sneer at.

    Scenario Two: Raider Attack on Jovalis Settlements

    Threat Force: 20 light assault craft, all approximately equivalent to Federation Mercury-class couriers refitted to Maquis specifications (c.f. Starfleet Intelligence files, 2370-2373) [Note: These are ships like Chakotay’s raider.]

    I will not involve the Jovali forces in this engagement, because the assault is on Jovalis directly, and not the entire system like the previous scenario.

    I’m quite certain that the Cerberus could take care of this “rag-tag fleet” on its own, but the raiders have the opportunity to disperse and conduct individual attacks. On the initial approach, therefore, the Cerberus and the Rigorous will advance at warp speed and deliver a concentrated assault before the enemy has time to disperse. Two Starfleet ships of the line (even if one is nearing 90 years old and is about to be decommissioned) are more than a match for a handful of pirates. However, the lighter Jovalisi freighters and our runabouts and shuttles will disperse to the three major settlements to provide local fire support should the pirates make it that far.

    However, I anticipate that the raiders would have some specific objective in attacking Jovalis so openly, and therefore a dispersed, chaos-creating attack is not likely their goal. In any event, the raiders pose very little real threat assuming that they can be kept away from a direct assault on any of the orbital habitats.

    Scenario Three: Borg Sphere

    Threat Force: 1 Borg Sphere, approximately 400 meters diameter, probable scout vessel

    I will again involve the Jovali defense forces in this engagement, because I’m quite sure that they have no interest in being assimilated.

    Now, the year is currently 2379. Captain Kathryn Janeway and the USS Voyager returned from the Delta Quadrant about one year ago, bringing with them some astounding technology that will probably put Federation tactical capabilities three decades ahead of everyone else in the region. Preliminary scout missions into regions previously known to be controlled by the Borg have shown no indication of Borg activity; however, that does not prove that the apparent destruction of Unimatrix One has eliminated the entire Collective.

    Starfleet just recently approved standard specifications for both the transphasic torpedo and the regenerative hull armor systems for deployment on all starships. Unfortunately, the freighter that was carrying the ordinance and equipment for installation on the ships assigned to Sector Gamma, USS Grand Canyon, was attacked en route by a starship of apparent Federation origin which emerged from a temporal vortex. The starship beamed the torpedoes and armor generators away from the freighter. Before disappearing back into the vortex, the starship transmitted a brief and perplexing message: “Well, if A leads to B, and B leads to C...” Starfleet Intelligence is currently investigating the matter and attempting to determine any potential threats to Federation security.

    Unfortunately, this strange incident means that I’m stuck with one reasonably modern starship, one out-of-date cruiser, six lumbering, ancient bricks with a few advanced weapons strapped on, and an assortment of useless shuttles and freighters.

    I may have to resort to kamikaze attacks to destroy the sphere. (The probability that the Borg will break off from whatever objective they have set is nil.) If we have enough time, I’d commandeer some of the Jovalisi freighters, get their crews offloaded, and use them as flying bombs. Cerberus and Rigorous would engage in close-range support to cover the freighters’ approach, while the Jovali ships will provide long-range fire support and only approach if their fire proves completely ineffective.

    The previous scenario assumes that the sphere is on a low-priority scout mission and is not anticipating any encounter with hostile forces. If they’re coming in with the intent to attack (i.e. a high-speed approach), then we’re in deep doo-doo. If that’s the case, then any mobile asset, including and especially Cerberus, is considered expendable in order to eliminate the threat.

    1. It appears that the Cardassians on Bifour aren’t completely stupid, or as isolationist as I’d thought.

      Provided Captain Nall agrees, I would assign Rigorous to take the delegates on their tour. I’ve managed to get some helpful advice and introduction from the good Captain since I arrived — one last grand tour of the sector, and especially a goodwill visit to Bifour IV, will be a great way for a fine starship and her crew to go out in style. Nall is also the most well-known Federation figure in the sector, and so her presence would lend greater importance to the tour.

    2. I can’t blame the Jovali for their concern. Given recent (and not-so-recent) history, the Jovali have probably been worrying about Cardassian invasion for the past 20 to 30 years — or more.

      The ship that can get there the fastest is Cerberus, and also has more powerful engines and up-to-date equipment that can either tow the Jovali cruiser out of the nebula and/or provide the necessary engineering support.

      However, the Jovali ship is one of their huge Anaitsirhc-class patrol cruisers and grosses more than 9,000,000 metric tons. The Cerberus wouldn’t be able to pull the cruiser out on its own. Furthermore, since the Pink Nebula is inside Cardassian territory, they have a right to be in on the operation. I’ll try to set this up diplomatically and have the Cerberus coordinate the whole thing — try to keep the Jovali and the Cardassians from getting on each other’s nerves.

      My only concern is that having Cerberus go into the Pink Nebula means that it abandons its patrol route between Bifour IV and Jovalis. However, this will give me a chance to get a good look inside the Pink Nebula and see if the Cardassians are hiding anything in there.

    3. Again, I send Cerberus rushing to the rescue. First, evacuating the surveillance crew from the surface and camouflaging the outpost are the top priority — but I may just have an engineering team beam down to do the work at the outpost and have Cerberus immediately start hunting for the raiders. Because pirates with a cloaked ship and invisibility suits is not something that I want to have to deal with in the long term...

  2. Scenario: A Cardassian Hideki-class warship emerges from the Purple Nebula, heading on a “southeast” vector. However, once it’s clear of the nebula, it changes course towards Zechs... at Warp 2.3. Long-range scans indicate that the ship may be damaged, but the Hideki is transmitting no distress call, or any other messages for that matter.

  3. If all of the Bifour Cardassian ships are accounted for... then we may have a serious problem. Based on the preliminary intelligence, none of the “low yield” colonies in the neighboring sector generate sufficient resources to maintain a shipyard and the construction of new warships.

    However, it seems so far that the Cardassians are willing to cooperate; the fact that they support the old authoritarian form of government does not in itself prove that they’re hostile to the Federation. At the very least, the thrashing that they received a few years ago probably convinced them not to stand in our way.

    In any event, I’m not going to risk Cerberus for this matter. If it was any hostile reason for Ki’s disappearance or delay — Cardassians or otherwise — then I want to ensure the safety of Jovalis. It looks like Captain Nall will have to ride to the rescue one more time...

Question Three

  1. I’m just going to compliment everyone else here for remembering the orbital weapons platforms for the raider attack scenario. I didn’t. ;-)

  2. I’ll go for Timo’s scenario. (Why take the easy road?)

    Originally posted by Timo:

    A battered Kressari transport arrives at Lucrezea, claiming to have been attacked by a Dominion cruiser near Zechs. This is only the latest in a series of wild rumors about a Jem’Hadar vessel that has refused to believe in the stand-down orders and bitterly continues the war — and the rumors have never specified a ship as big as a cruiser before.

    But the Kressari do have phased-polaron beam wounds on their ship to show. And so the flames are fanned and fueled. The Kressari are allied with the domesticated variant of Cardassians, and ship various produce from Lucrezea to the starving Union; the Lucrezeans insist that this is state-sponsored piracy, that the Bifourians are maintaining or even operating the Jem’Hadar vessel to hurt both the Lucrezeans and the tamer Cardassians.

    The otherwise cooperative Bifourians balk at the insults. They suspend Kressari and other cargo runs across this part of the border “until the ghost ship is found and dealt with.” It doesn’t look like they are doing any “finding” or “dealing with” of their own, though.

    If there is a Jem’Hadar warship loose in the sector, then all other bets are off. I’d send in Cerberus to perform a preliminary search mission in the region where the enemy ship was last reported. The Cardassians on Bifour can either help with the search, or get out of the way. And if they give even a hint that they’ve been supporting this rogue cruiser, then I’m going to come down on them like a ton of bricks once my fleet arrives. (Yeah, I’ve only got six ships, most of them light cruisers... I’ll have to give it some thought.)

    However, in the interests of diplomacy I’ll send a message to the Cardassians and inform them of our intentions and our demands. I’ll bluntly point out that they’re not doing anything to find this so-called “ghost ship”, and if they won’t, then that could be construed as support of the enemy. And I’m sure they remember quite well what happened the last time the Federation approached them as an enemy.

    I have two concerns, though: First, there’s the lack of conclusive sensor records as evidence from the attacked ships. Thus, aside from the polaron beam scars I have no real proof that it’s the Jem’Hadar. And second, any fully-loaded freighter should be absolutely no match for even a partially-operational Jem’Hadar cruiser — so why did they get away?

  3. Available Starships
    • USS Cerberus (Akira-class, NCC-63702)
    • USS Eclipse (Andromeda-class, NCC-71407)
    • USS Glacier (Sequoia-class, NCC-70185)
    • USS Tahoe (Sequoia-class, NCC-70092)
    • USS Beowulf (Defiant-class, NCC-76910)
    • USS Tiamat (Saber-class, NCC-61926)
    • USS Aristophanes (Miranda-class, NCC-31923)

    Tactical Deployment Update 3.0

    Tactical Deployment Update 3.0
    Tactical Deployment Update 3.0

    Oh, joy. I get to babysit a boatload of children. Assuming the Cardassians don’t turn out to have three times as many ships and go on a major offensive (see Sector Beta), I’m going to make damn sure that none of these cadets gets promoted before they graduate. And I also don’t want them running any suicidal attacks against enemy cruisers just to prove that they can do anything. Got that?

    The Aristophanes is free to roam the sector as the commanders/professors see fit. But the second any open hostilities break out, they’re going to head back to Jovalis and take cover. Assuming they’re not the only ship in the quadrant and are needed on a vital mission... :-P

    QUESTION: What has happened with Captain Nall and her retirement? Has she left the sector, or is she still hanging around?

    1. Good for the Lucrezeans. I didn’t expect them to purchase so many for such a small colony, though — so I’ll quietly tell Starfleet Command to nix that recommendation for selling them a surplus ship that I made in Question One.

      Given that the two Birds of Prey are surplus, I’m going to assume that they do not have a cloaking device. The Klingons wouldn’t give that stuff away anyway, and the Ferengi would’ve stripped something that valuable before selling the ship on to some colonial hicks.

      As for fleet deployment, I won’t make any changes. I’ve already got the Cerberus and the Tiamat in the general area (intended to patrol the Bifour IV border), and the shift of the Cardassian forces doesn’t worry me that much.

      Although I can understand the Cardassians’ paranoia. Given that Zechs is a mining colony it’s probably one of their most productive sources of raw materials — they can’t afford to lose that. I believe I should do a little intelligence gathering on Lucrezea to determine the nature of popular sentiment — is the local government planning some expansion? Or are they just trying to pull together a defensive force sufficient to stand up to three Galors?

    2. Crud. That’s not good news at all. Yeah, the mine could have been left over from the previous conflicts... or it could have been planted by the Cardassians on Bifour. I won’t make any accusations without proof (which we probably won’t ever get), but it’s extremely lucky that this random accident just happened to hit the Bridge and wipe out most of the saucer. This doesn’t make me too inclined to deal kindly with these guys if hostilities come.

    3. ...So, if it’s a legal action, then that means it’s an internal matter. As in, the responsibility of the local government to handle their own affairs. If the colonists have no way to move their own station, they should have thought of that before holding the referendum!

      I will sidestep the issue by telling them that there is no way for Starfleet to divert any starships for such a job. Which is completely true — I can’t afford to lose either Cerberus or my two Sequoias for a few months. If the colonists want to be moved, maybe they should contract out the Cardassians... (I won’t say that to their face, though.)

  4. Over the past four weeks, a large number of freighters from Bifour have been heading into and out of the Pink Nebula. The Cardassians say that they have discovered a brown dwarf star system within the nebula which contains a resource-rich asteroid belt, which includes dilithium. Soon, the Cardassians shift one Galor and two Hidekis to patrol the border near the nebula.

Question Four

Guest Lecture by MinutiaeMan

Yes, I know it’s kind of weird to answer my own questions. But since I plan to keep up with the scenario, I figured I’d have a go at it anyway.

Available Starships

Tactical Deployment Update 3.0

  1. Since he’s written a sequel to his first offering, I’ll take Timo’s scenario again. I must have some affinity for pain...

    Originally posted by Timo:

    It seems a Jem’Hadar ship is indeed loose on the sector. Your forces confront and corner it; the tiny attack ship tries to ram your ship, fails and self-destructs. Nobody is satisfied with the outcome. “This was not the horrible cruiser”, some insist; “You deliberately erased all proof of the ship’s origin”, others cry. “They are still lurking out there!”; “My aunt is a Changeling infiltrator!”; “Watch the skis!”; “The skiEs!”; “Sorry. Watch the skies!” “It’s a cookbook!”

    As soon as you whack off one head of the rumor monster, another sprouts out. And then you run into the deadliest of them all: apparently, the surviving Jem’Hadar are about to unleash their horrid Quickening bioweapon on Lucrezea. Or Jovalis. Or Joval. It will arrive on an alien ship, perhaps a human one. Or Yridian. Or Kressari.

    And then you capture a Bifourian extremist who says the whole thing was orchestrated by his movement, and that they will win no matter what. The bioweapon does exist, in the form of an infected person who has nothing to lose, and will arrive when and where Starfleet least expects him or her. And even capturing the carrier will only provide proof that the threat is real, leading to the desired panic.

    Describe the logistics it will take to find this carrier and to control the possible planetary panic. Factor in the considerable number of weekly shipments these planets need to survive. Your starships will be stretched thin. What other assets do you have available?

    If the Bifourians are taking hostile actions against the Federation, they almost have to take it from a terrorist’s point of view. They’re vastly outnumbered and outgunned, and they control only a tiny handful of systems compared to an interstellar alliance that smacked down the two biggest threats the quadrant has ever seen. They can’t hope to win a conventional conflict — even if they temporarily overwhelm the local forces, Starfleet will send in a task force to clean up the mess... possibly by carpet-bombing the bloody Cardies back into the stone age. The Driians certainly learned their lesson a few months ago.

    I’m tempted to come down on the Bifourians like a ton of bricks, regardless. It’s been three years since the end of the war — one small Jem’Hadar fighter simply can not survive on its own for that long in open space. They’d have to be receiving support and supplies from somewhere, not to mention some ketracel-white to keep the Jemmies in line. The other alternative is that there wasn’t actually any Dominion personnel aboard, but the ship was run by someone else — like maybe Cardassians? I’m going to start pulling a hard line with the Bifourians for any future interaction.

    My first thought is that this supposed Bifourian defector is actually the carrier himself. I’m familiar with Captain Janeway’s logs from Voyager’s trek across the Delta Quadrant — I’m not about to make the same foolish mistake. (see “Basics, Part I”) From a terrorist’s perspective, taking out even one starship could be seen as a victory. There’s plenty of historical precedent for that, too. Consider the problems that Earth had with terrorists in the aftermath of the Eugenics Wars, and the attack on a United States destroyer, the USS Cole. Certainly not a major blow according to simple numbers, but its effect was very far-reaching.

    However, something tells me that there is no Quickening plague, no Dominion threat — and the Bifourians are just trying to cause some chaos and make it look like they’re innocent victims along with everyone else. I have no proof and will take no action against them, but again, I’m going to keep a very close eye on them.

    Tactical Deployment Update 3.0
    Tactical Deployment Update 4.0

    In any event, this is a threat that I cannot afford to ignore. I’d bring in all possible assets to cover the Jovalis colonies — my primary duty since they’re Federation members. Given the close relationship and proximity to Joval itself, I’ll try to coordinate there if possible. The Tiamat and Eclipse will remain on station at the border, but the Cerberus, Beowulf, and Tahoe will be recalled to Jovalis. I’ll set up a planetary blockade in Jovalis orbit, and all incoming vessels will be scanned and inspected. An emergency request will be sent to Starfleet Medical for all information available on the Quickening. If possible, some first-hand experience would be welcome — it’s a bit far to Bajor, but if Doctor Bashir could be spared for a few weeks for this interplanetary emergency, it would be a huge help.

    Given the origin of the threat, I believe it’s possible to focus the search, though. Legitimate, Federation-registered freighters that are incoming from the core worlds are less likely to be used as a conduit for this attack. They’ll still be scanned and checked, but the main focus will be on independent and non-Federation vessels — especially so-called “free traders” (i.e. smugglers). For once, I’m actually glad that the Aristophanes is in the area, because having a hundred extra warm bodies to help out will be useful. All cadets will still be supervised and will work alongside the commissioned officers, but will be given full authority necessary to conduct the inspections. The Aristophanes itself can serve as an interdiction ship — it’s not likely to be outrun by most of the freighters, and its small crew can still handle ship-to-ship engagements.

    Planetary panic — that’s the one major problem here. It’s also one reason why I’ve pulled in every ship possible; I want to be visible and reassure the Jovalisi citizens that I’m taking this threat seriously, even if it’s only a remote possibility.

    Given my manpower issues, I really can’t afford many resources to spare for Lucrezea. However, they have a much smaller relative population, and therefore it shouldn’t be that difficult proportionally. The Tiamat will be in the area to lend assistance if necessary, and I’ll send a few security advisors to help them get their customs systems up to date. Unless something concrete comes up, though, I can’t offer more than that.

    I’m going to assume complete cooperation on a military level with the Jovali royal forces. For one thing, the Cardassians aren’t really going to care who gets the brunt of their attack, since none of the nearby planets were allied with the Dominion. Joval has a lot less trade with other systems, though, so they won’t have as much to worry about. And the warships that they currently have won’t have much trouble with most freighters that are likely to show up — and if they do have trouble, then Starfleet’s ready to lend a hand.

  2. Note: First, I’m assuming that Timo’s scenario was purely hypothetical (hypothetically hypothetical?), and therefore does not affect the “real” events in the rest of the question.

    1. The only change I would make is to recall the Cerberus to Jovalis for local patrol in case things get really nasty. The Glacier (Sequoia-class) is already nearby along with the Aristophanes. That should presumably be enough to handle any low-level threats, and keep the rest of the sector guarded as well.

    2. First off, I’ll express my concern for his decision to suppress a popular movement with military force. However, I will emphasize that this conflict is ultimately an internal affair and therefore it falls under the Prime Directive. I will express my wish to keep relations peaceful and friendly. I will not make any threats or imply consequences of any kind that are related to the civil war. It won’t be business as usual, but the Federation will not shun a civilization that it considers a friend though not an ally.

  3. I’ve always thought that the Federation’s policy in this respect is rather unrealistic. By its very nature, any war can involve more parties than just the direct combatants. A classic example is the American Revolutionary War in the 18th century — without assistance from the French Empire, the fledgling United States could possibly have been overrun by British troops and remained a colonial territory for many more years. The Prime Directive could instead be considered inimical to change and social progress. How different would the American Revolution have concluded had there been a Federation-like government that prevented “external” interference? How different would the Ansata Revolt on Rutia IV have been had the Federation not been perceived as oppressors? How many Bajoran lives could have been saved if the Federation had intervened three decades sooner? Freedom and self-determination — these are principles that are supposedly synonymous with the Federation itself, and yet when a non-member society fights to gain the same benefits that we already enjoy, the Federation turns a blind eye.

    Nevertheless, the regulations aren’t made for me to interpret, nor am I the sole arbiter of Federation policy. Starfleet can hardly afford to get bogged down in a multitude of local conflicts — which is why the noninterference protocols were established in the first place. Otherwise, we’d turn into a fleet full of bumbling do-gooders who end up causing more trouble than they solve. (Which is one of many reasons why all records of Captain Jonathan Archer and the ESS Enterprise NX-01 have been stricken from Starfleet’s records. Even two centuries later, Tandara still refuses to establish diplomatic relations with the Federation, thanks to Archer’s brilliant display of tact and diplomacy.)

    1. Medical supplies and foodstuffs I can understand. Equipment is a problem because of the disparity between the Federation and Jovali technological levels. Weapons and troops could cause the entire star system to spontaneously combust. I will establish strict regulations on any trade between Jovalis and Joval — all outgoing ships are subject to inspection. With my three starships in the area, I can keep a rein on the civilian traffic heading towards Joval.

      The difficulty here is that the Jovalisi have close cultural ties to the homeworld, but are also Federation citizens and therefore subject to Federation law. It’s almost a microcosm of the Maquis, I think. I don’t want some loose cannons running around causing hell for Federation foreign policy. Therefore, any Federation civilians caught providing military aid to either side will be arrested and tried.

    2. Joval is clearly a war zone, not to mention sovereign Jovali territory — therefore Starfleet has absolutely no jurisdiction. Therefore, the Merchants’ Guild request is categorically denied.

      The trade issues could be a major problem, though, since the Jovalisi habitats are hardly self-sufficient as far as food and basic necessities are concerned. Replicators can handle some of the load, but it’ll take a lot more energy to convert hydrogen and other elements into the molecular structures needed food and life support. I’ll see what I can do about getting some more shipments in from the Federation, but that could be a problem due to the sector’s remoteness — any response is likely three or four weeks away.

    3. I will take no action at the moment, but this is a cause for concern — a bunch of rebels with a cruiser carrying Sovereign-equivalent weaponry is not the best factor for interplanetary peace. So far the Jovali civil war has been confined to the surface and low orbit. If it can’t be contained, then we may have some serious problems in the future.

      On second thought, I’m going to recall the USS Beowulf (Defiant-class) for some additional firepower should it be necessary. I won’t search for the Dralliw myself, but I’ll be ready to respond if they cause the Federation any trouble.

    4. I can provide some shipboard security officers to act as advisors and to train the local police in anti-riot tactics, and provide some high-grade gear for defense. But I can’t address any large manpower problems, and I certainly can’t send officers to all of the habitats, especially not at the same time. I’ll focus on the habitats where riots have already occurred or may soon occur, to try to contain the problems.

    1. It’s a shame I don’t have any high-capacity transports in my task force; a pair of Istanbul-class ships came in handy back in Sector Alpha. I didn’t think that any transports would be necessary here because of the established lines between Jovalis and the Federation core worlds.

      I’ll try to commandeer some freighters for the extra space, but that won’t address the supply shortage completely. Besides, the freighters need to be kept running in order to keep supplies coming in just to maintain the current needs for food and other materials.

      The Cerberus can serve as a temporary refugee center for some of the worst cases, but I don’t want to overburden my flagship should it need to enter a combat situation. Deep Space Twelve can likewise handle some of the load, but again, it won’t solve the problem.

      The hulk of the Rigorous might be useful simply for the extra deck space, but since it was deactivated to be placed in the museum, it’s powered by nothing more than photovoltaic cells, and would take an engineering team of a couple dozen just to get the fusion reactor online. Besides, I don’t need the ship to go anywhere — I just need the space. For now.

      As the shortage of supplies becomes more critical, I’ll have to begin returning some of the refugees to Joval. In this situation, I’ll need to work with the monarch to ensure their safety — only civilians who are fleeing the fighting because their homes were in the war zone will be returned to a safe zone on the Joval surface until the fighting is over. I’m sure there will be plenty of requests for asylum, and those will be handled as we are able.

      I’ll see about shipping some of the refugees off to Lucrezea for the time being, but the problem there is that I don’t have any ships to spare in order to get them there — not to mention the fact that the Lucrezeans may not be willing to help in this regard. At the very least, I hope they can provide some foodstuffs to handle the short-term crisis. They ARE an agricultural colony, after all.

    2. The Cerberus will intercept the passenger ship and immediately provide humanitarian aid as necessary. The Jovali cruiser will be instructed in no uncertain terms to stand down. If they wish to file a request for extradition, I’ll consider it. Likewise, I expect I’ll receive requests for asylum, assuming that some of the passengers aboard are indeed linked to the rebels. I’ll consider granting them safety, but I don’t want to allow them to set up some kind of safe harbor in Jovalisi space and only end up exacerbating the conflict.

    3. Tactical Deployment Update 3.0
      Tactical Deployment Update 4.1

      The Glacier and the Tahoe (both Sequoia-class) will be detailed to convoy and patrol duty. Hopefully some kind of official presence will be enough to deter the raiders. The Tiamat (Saber-class) will be shifted northward approximately four light years to cover the gap between Luzrezea and Zechs, and to be closer to G’Sall in case there’s more trouble in that area.

    4. Targeting docking facilities is not just an attack on people, it’s also an attack on interhabitat and interplanetary trade. And in an enclosed environment like an orbital habitat, a bomb attack is a whole lot more serious.

      I’m tempted to declare martial law in the Jovalis colonies because of this threat, but that’s not practical at the moment given that I only have a local security corps that’s trained for investigating petty thefts and assaults, not a running an anti-terrorist campaign. And I only have a handful of starships with insufficient personnel to take over the operation. Not to mention the fact that instituting martial law in an ultra-pacifistic Federation society is not something to be done lightly.

      I’ve already got some of my officers working at the customs facilities, so we can expand their inspections to look for explosive materials. The trouble will be maintaining the security of the customs gateways while handling the extreme load thanks to the refugees. The starships in the area will provide logistical and technological support where possible. I’ll also tighten the restrictions on entry to Deep Space Twelve and try to screen people prior to embarking on the station.

  4. From the Monarch’s perspective, he’s trying to prevent a resurgence of the rebellion. From the Jovalisi government’s perspective, it’s a trade war. I’ll try to mediate here and hope that they don’t get too pissed off at each other.

    Again, the noninterference policy will come into play — I will take no action against either side here. However, I will try to puruade the rebels on that cruiser to stand down. Asylum may be in order if they need refuge, but I would also like to arrange the return of the ship to its rightful owners, mainly to make sure that it doesn’t cause more trouble down the road.

Question Five

Coming soon!

This page was last modified on Wednesday, July 04, 2012.