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Fleet Asset Management I, Sobchak Sector

Sample Answer by Dan Carlson

Question One

  1. Considering the current time period, it seems that there’s a grudging peace established between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Each side periodically complains and blusters about various issues, and there may be a minor skirmish here and there, but there’s no major flash points. Settlement issues, under the auspices of the Organian Peace Treaty (OPT) have helped the two antagonists avoid most major points of conflict. However, despite this peaceful interlude, we can’t afford to let our guard down, because given the opportunity, the Klingons would very much love to take the offensive again.

    I’m going to base my responses heavily on Masao’s version of TOS political history, specifically the events and causes of the Four Days’ War from “Errand of Mercy” (I just love that name... I suggested it specifically to thumb my nose at the FASA timeline.) Therefore, the Federation’s primary goal — in the past, anyway — has been to deny vital resources to the Klingons and to block potential avenues of expansion. Although it’s possible that there’s the potential for some kind of peaceful coexistence on Sobchak’s Planet, the risk is far too great, for the moment, to give the Klingons too much breathing room.

    Therefore, the primary goal of colonization of Sobchak’s will be for agricultural and settlement purposes. With a much greater population, the Federation can afford to move in larger numbers of people to lay claim to the planet, and with the focus on agriculture, establish a case for the Federation’s greatest strengths: sustainable development. Some mining facilities will be established, but in an environmentally-neutral fashion that will leave as little impact as possible on the overall ecosphere.

    In contrast, the Klingons are most likely to see Sobchak’s as a ball of resources waiting to be consumed as fast as possible. They’ll move in some strip-mining operations, and probably what they would consider a large population, to try to play the numbers game. They’ll lose in that, of course. But as a result, the Federation colony will be established as far away from the Klingon colony (if it’s already been established) as possible. However, if the Klingons haven’t set up shop yet, then we’ll take the best fertile land that’s also closest to the biggest mineral deposits.

    I should mention that I briefly considered planting my colony close to the Klingons instead, establishing a kind of dual settlement that could become one city (kinda like Minneapolis/St. Paul, for example). But then I thought about the joke that has become Nimbus III (NEVER ASK ABOUT NIMBUS III!), and I decided I know better.

    (IMPORTANT: I’m assuming that Sobchak’s potential is roughly unremarkable, with equal capacity for agricultural or mining efforts. If there’s few resources or less arable land, the colony plans will be adapted accordingly. Shik?)

  2. For transports themselves, I imagine there’ll be a steady stream of them coming and going. Starfleet’s not asking me if I want any transports permanently assigned, are they? ’Cause if so, that’s kinda pointless. I imagine that some ships will make regular round trips on a fixed route, but that’s still not under my direct control. Depending on how modular and configurable they are, I imagine that we can have (once the colony gets going) a bunch of transports that bring in settlers and carry out finished produce. For the first year or two, only a couple of big ships would be needed, probably. As the colony grows, the demands will change. In terms of numbers, I figure that after the first few really big shipments in, most of the needs will be relatively small until the colony becomes sustainable. So I figure the ships’ll be of the Giant class (for big stuff) and Starmaster class (for the little stuff like resupply and minor needs). Probably twice as many little ships as big ones.

    As for escorts... At the very least, there need to be some seriously heavy but clearly defensive assets attached to the Sobchak’s colony. Considering that the Penxi Optimus (would their homeworld be Penxi Optimus Prime?) seem to be equivalent to the Barbary States of ancient Earth, there’s plenty of justification for military assets there, regardless of the Klingon situation. The proximity to the nebula doesn’t help, either. Therefore, a minimum of two squadrons (pairs) of Asmodeus-class corvettes will be based along the space lanes for anti-piracy operations in the vicinity. (Another two squadrons would be useful for general patrol elsewhere, for that matter.) An additional Predator or Kestrel destroyer would be needed for best results, as well, to complement the fighters. Also, a network of sensor buoys would need to be deployed between the colony and the outskirts of the nebula, to provide a kind of early-warning network.

    I don’t think that there’ll be a huge need for escorts inside Federation space itself, seeing how that’s relatively secure. The standing patrol squadron would be shifted to cover the usual routes to and from the colony, as necessary. However, a Sahara tender would be handy to provide roving support for the patrol squadron, especially when they’re running on and in the nebula, as a mobile resupply base. Also, in the interests of preparedness, an old Belleau Wood-class assault transport would make for an excellent ad hoc orbiting supply base near Sobchak’s. It could function as a tender for the fighters (though not as well as a carrier, of course), but also work great for any potential combat operations that might be needed should hostilities flare up on the ground at Sobchak’s.

    I should register my concerns her about the paltry size of the local squadron... all of the ships are either close to retirement or due for a major refit. I seriously doubt that the squadron could effectively resist any likely Klingon incursion force, should one attack. Ideally, there should be at least a Miranda-class medium cruiser to provide some modern firepower in the case of a cavalry-style raid or a reconnaissance-in-force. And if the Penxi choose to make any real trouble, then they’ll pretty much have the run of the whole damn sector with their 13 heavy combatants and 350 destroyer-types!

    Of course, part of my response depends on the kinds of defenses the five established worlds have in place. How did they fare during the Four Days’ War, Shik? Can you provide any more detailed background on the Federation-Klingon conflict as it occurred in this sector, specifically?

  3. Well, that’s exactly what the Oberth is there to find... so I’d want them to look closer. Given the situation in the sector, I’d have to assume that it was some kind of patrol force sent by one of the local threat forces, so I’d want to send over one of my destroyer squadrons to take position at the nearest point, outside the nebula, to the scout’s current position. This would solely be intended to provide cover if the scout stirs up a hornet’s nest inside and needs to make a quick getaway.

  4. If piracy starts increasing, I’d have to ask for some more destroyer-type vessels. Preferably, I’d want something a bit newer... that way, I could rotate my older destroyers out to fight the pirates (who probably are operating older machinery, though not necessarily) and keep the newer vessels for countering any fleet movements made by the Penxi or the Klingons. My first choice would be that destroyer kitbash from the DS9:TM, known in Bernd’s files as the Constitution variant 1. For lack of a better idea, I’ll reluctantly use the DITL’s name, and call it the Polaris class. A minimum of two, preferably three.

    It’d help to sum up my requests, so here they are:

    • 1 Miranda-class medium cruisers
    • 2-3 Polaris-class destroyers
    • 1 Kestrel-class destroyer
    • 1 Sahara-class tender
    • 1 Belleau Wood-class assault transport
    • 8 Asmodeus-class corvettes

And I guess that’s all for now...

Question Two

  1. I’ll critique Harry’s response, simply because it’s the most recent one. ;-)

    First, I’m a bit concerned that you don’t request any smaller ships than a couple of destroyers... mainly because, despite the big cold war going on with the Klingons, I’m much more worried about the Penxi and their 300+ raiders. The reason I requested my small fleet of corvettes is because numbers are needed to cover all the angles with the various trade routes near Penxi space. I realized after I posted my requests that it would be quite easy for any pirates to launch a diversionary feint on one transport, lure in the local patrolling destroyer, and then launch the real raid in the completely opposite direction. (This was one of the primary reasons for the development of the Kestrel-class light cruiser several decades ago.) I’m also a bit puzzled as to why you think a refitted Ptolemy would be a suitable deterrent to pirate attacks.

    I will compliment you on your thinking of shuttles. I made such a big stink about the fighters for colony defense, when a handful of armed shuttles would probably work just as well for basic needs, and wouldn’t’ve raised Shik’s ire.

  2. Preliminary fleet deployment in Sobchak Sector
    Preliminary fleet deployment in Sobchak Sector
    Size comparison: ships in Sobchak Sector
    Size comparison of starships in Sobchak Sector

    Ain’t it always the way? Command loves to put up big fancy defenses and tons of starships in the really populated border regions, but for anything that’s even partially out of the way and is just starting out, they wait until there’s an actual crisis to actually send sufficient ships. Anyway...

    • USS India (NCC-1479), Lancaster class
    • USS Skua (NCC-1396), Kestrel class
    • USS Dazzler (NCC-D120), Avenger class
    • USS Reporter (NCC-D159), Avenger class
    • USS Buccaneer (NCC-D218), Predator class
    • USS Spanker (NCC-D279), Predator class

    New Arrivals:

    • USS Saratoga (NCC-1867), Miranda class
    • USS Orion (NCC-1981), Polaris class
    • USS Scorpio (NCC-1984), Polaris class
    • USS Shaitan (NCC-D423), Asmodeus class
    • USS Michtlantecuhtli (NCC-D414), Asmodeus class
    • USS Bali Raj (NCC-D452), Asmodeus class
    • USS Brandywine (NCC-1559), Belleau Wood class
    • USS Gobi (NCC-DT23), Sahara class

    Pending Shik’s decision, the Gobi may have been cut as well.

    As a result, I’ll have to spread out my anti-piracy patrols, and concentrate them more towards Penxi space. They’re the main concern right now... we’ll have plenty of warning if there’s any major Klingon issues, but the Penxi-supported raiders have the ability to strike at a moment’s notice and have already demonstrated the ability to penetrate through Federation territory with impunity. Instead of operating in pairs, they’ll have to act as more of a wolf pack... they’ll patrol within a couple light-years of each other, with the other two ready to rush in to their sister ship’s aid at a moment’s notice. And considering their torpedo armament, they’re probably capable enough on their own against most raiding parties.

  3. Why the hell does Starfleet want me to plan the damn colony? Don’t they pay the analysts loads of credits (and lots of fancy lunches on corporate accounts) to figure out these things? I’m a soldier/diplomat and administrator, not a paper-pusher!

    I suppose the colony would need to have some regular food shipments for the early months before the crop yields start coming in. A handful of shuttlecraft with easy attachment points for *ahem* colony-defense weaponry. (I’m sure there are a bunch of colonists who’ll be coming from North America’s Old South, and will be bringing their own phaser rifles to mount on the back of their personal vehicles to defend against them-thar gul-derned Clingans! ’Course, those same vehicles are probably rusted over and up on blocks, so that may not be an asset... <g>) Considering it’s the frontier, a combination militia/police force would be the best way to provide organization. A subspace transmitter/receiver facility would be necessary for communications, preferably with Starfleet-grade military capacity available in times of crisis.

    But aside from the comms facilities, I’ll stipulate that there be nothing more than standard defensive armaments be stationed on the colony surface. For now, at least, we don’t want to establish the appearance of a new forward base... despite the very strategic location of the planet for attacking just about every Klingon planet in the sector.

  4. What a surprise this is! </sarcasm> It’s exactly why I chose to keep the Brandywine instead of the Gobi (assuming the latter gets axed by Shik), because I had a feeling that the Klingons would be trying to plant their flag with a military rather than civilian presence. I’d want to know from my intelligence officer what other assets the Klingons are known to have in this sector, so I can reassign my own squadrons accordingly. If it’s newly-assigned additional forces, then I may need to shift additional ships of my own (probably a destroyer or two) to operate out of Sobchak’s. But if they’re focusing more of their forces at Sobchak’s and Obrelk by siphoning from other sector forces, then I’ll let ’em sit for now.

  5. While denying our intent for spying, I’ll also question the General’s own admission that he had his own ship in the nebula. I’d ask just what it was doing there, if not for “spying” of its own. I’d also point out that if I were intent on spying, then I sure as hell wouldn’t be doing it in the nebula, where sensor range is incredibly short, and it’s not immediately near any major locations (such as Obrelk).

    As for open warfare, I certainly won’t scoff in the face of Klingon threats (because that’ll just make him happy prove me wrong), but one lone general isn’t much of a threat for an actual declaration of war. I just need to prepare to defend against possible retaliatory raids and incursions.

    (BTW, is General Plis’Qen a son of the house of Sna’ke? :D )

  6. Well, preventing this tragedy would’ve been easier if I had been given the ships that I asked for. I had planned to place one of my corvette squadrons near Safko, which is relatively near to the route between Sobchak’s Planet and Yvel. As it is, beefier point-defense installations for planetary locations is the best bet, because my mobile assets are already tied up defending the trade routes. Considering the population, I’ll think about shifting one of my destroyers over that way... but I don’t know if that will be effective.

    I will also start drawing up plans for retaliatory raids into Penxi-influenced territory. It will be strictly tit-for-tat, no escalation, and I’ll specifically focus my energies on the raiders’ strongholds rather than any Penxi colony worlds. But if I can make it clear that launching attacks against the Federation will only cause them more hurt in kind, hopefully they’ll come to their senses.

    Oh, and I’ll also forward a copy of the records of the raid (carefully redacted in case of security concerns, should the Safkans have any) to General Plis’Qen, as proof of the threat the Penxi hold for both of us.

  7. Your intelligence officer presents you with a rare opportunity: detailed readouts and information of a mid-size raider stronghold and some of its associated craft, located in the unclaimed/uninhabited system near Safko. He’s confident that the intel accurately describes the base’s defenses and the approximate numbers (and sizes) of the ships in the system. There’s an estimated 5 frigate types (Paris-class equivalent) and probably ten small raiders (runabout equivalent). The base itself has defenses equivalent to a basic Federation outpost (think the second-hand reports about Caleb IV). Given your fleet’s assets, you have a chance to take this outlier bunch on and send them packing. As a bonus, this base was the probable jump-off point for the recent raid on Safko.

    However, there’s some political ambiguity to consider. Although the system is officially unclaimed, it’s close enough to Penxi-held space that they may consider it part of their territory. And considering the close ties between the raiders and the Penxi (whether it’s actual state-sponsored piracy or the Penxi just looking the other way), an assault on the base may have greater political repercussions. So... to attack, or not to attack? Justify.

Question Three

  1. Originally posted by HerbShrump:

    A civilian science vessel, the S.S. Nye, has arrived at Deep Space Station K-10 with word of an interesting discovery. While doing an exploration/mapping survey for a Tellerite mining consortium in the starsystem directly “Southeast” of Sobchak’s Planet, they detected unusal energy reading eminating from the fourth planet in the system. These energy readings were very faint and only detectable from a range of about 2 AUs from the planet.

    Upon closer examination, the crew of the Nye discovered the remains of a modest size settlement of unknown origin. Initial dating of the structures place the site as being thousands of years old. It is unclear if this site was an outpost of the Calandans (TOS “That Which Survives”), the T’Kon Empire (TNG “The Last Outpost”) or some as-yet undiscovered civilization.

    This system is located very close to both Penxi and Klingon territory. While it appears these two civilizations have not discovered the ruins yet, it may only be a matter of time, since there is evidence Penxi raiders have visited the outer planets of the system.

    How do you preserve the site for Federation arcaeologist/Starfleet scientists while, at the same time, not attracting the attention of the Klingons or Penxi to the possibility of an advanced alien base with potentially unimaginable weapons and advanced scientific knowledge just outside their back door?

    An intriguing dilemma, this. The first step would be to perform a clandestine but intensive survey of the ruins. To that end, I’d procure a civilian survey-type ship to make a roundabout trip through that region and drop off my survey team, then continue on to other destinations before looping back (perhaps, depending on the time table) to pick the team up again. The goal would be misdirection to ensure that neither the Klingons nor the Penxi pick up on my interest in the system. Therefore, the team will be under strict orders to observe complete radio silence except in an emergency situation, and to avoid any sort of high-energy emissions that might attract unwanted attention.

    The survey team’s goals would be (1) determine the origin and purpose of the settlement and any equipment and artifacts found, (2) the feasibility of safely removing such equipment and artifacts in a reasonable amount of time, and (3) determine the potential threat any technology discovered could pose if acquired by either the Klingons or the Penxi.

    Depending on the nature of the site and the technology found, I’ve got three major choices:

    1. Remove all items of interest and take them back for study by Federation scientists. This would be the most preferred, because it avoids creating any territorial dispute or military conflict.

    2. Should the site warrant extended investigation but not pose a major threat, I could plant a small mining colony on the surface, preferably very close to the ruins. This would establish a territorial claim (but one that could be easily abandoned if necessary). The purpose of the mining colony would be solely to obscure those intriguing energy signatures, to act as a sort of decoy. However, the problem here is that I’d be presenting a very ripe target for the Penxi or the Klingons, and I’d rather not have to extend my patrol forces any further. A couple of extra corvettes would be preferred in such a case.

    3. The choice of last resort would be to remove anything portable, and then send in the Skua (stationed at Sobchak’s Planet) to obliterate the site from orbit with photon torpedoes. (c.f. the Iconian outpost from “Contagion”) Of course, this would be bound to attract attention, so I’d have to be sure to be quite thorough about it.

  2. I’d hope that the captain of the India and the two destroyers that went in were conspicuous enough that they were able to assist in the fight while within the sensor range of the Klingon ships. I will offer General Plis’Qen the services of my three ships as supplementary escort for his convoy for the duration of their transit through the Ul’Chek Nebula.

    I’ll also make sure to point out that the Federation is not in the business of attacking civilian targets, and if we really wanted to block their settlement of Sobchak’s, it’d be done in a far more efficient fashion. Hopefully the good general has at least a small sense of reason in him...

  3. Map of Sobchak’s Planet
    Planetary Cartography: Sobchak’s Planet

    Nothing happens. There’s a reason why I ordered that multiple potential sites be chosen for the settlement!

    However, I may need to step up my office’s counterintelligence operations... it’s an awfully convenient coincidence that the Klingons picked the exact same spot that we did!

  4. If DSU Qiao really wanted that one spot so badly, then he shouldn’t have been taking his damn time getting his colonists out here — I expected that the settlement should’ve been established in the last turn, not two turns from now! I trust he’s familiar with the old proverb, “The early bird gets the worm”? I will politely tell him to fuck off.

  5. Hmm. As a fan of the show, I’ve always wondered why there never seemed to be any local defense organizations separate from Starfleet. I mean, the US has the Navy and the Army, but they’ve also got the Coast Guard for local patrol and police actions. It would be crazy for the Federation to not have some similar setup as well. I’m going to assume that the local worlds actually DO have such an organization, and this secret proposal they’re working on is actually to extend the mandate of the original jurisdiction to include anti-piracy patrols throughout the sector.

    I won’t react until I get some more firm intel on exactly what they’re trying to set up, if anything. Assuming the rumor is accurate... well, patrolling just the UFP borders for pirates is next to useless. Space is three-dimensional, so it’s easy for any determined attackers to slip through the cracks. Coverage must be in-depth in order to discourage and thwart any attacks. I’d be more than willing to work with the various worlds to expand the reach of their local defense ships in order to protect commercial traffic and guard against pirates. However, turning the defense forces into a sector-wide patrol fleet would (1) be a waste of resources, duplicating the job that Starfleet is doing, and (2) probably spread the planetary defenses way too thin and leaving everyone vulnerable to a major attack.

    Therefore, what I’d propose is a means to extend the reach of the planetary defense ships’ patrols out a few more light-years from their homeworlds, to create a series of “bubbles” that should hopefully become pirate-free zones. Starfleet would assist in filling in the gaps between those zones, and reinforce the local defenses where necessary.

    I’ll be diplomatic about this, because this is certainly an extraordinary situation in a region where Starfleet obviously hasn’t been able (or willing? I hope not...) to pour in additional resources. Therefore, we can hopefully work together to create a more cohesive defense.

    One final thought... perhaps a series of inter-connected sensor relay stations would be in order along the major commerce routes, as well? Working in concert with the planetary defenses, perhaps we could establish a more united monitoring setup similar to the air traffic control systems of pre-warp Earth. Being able to keep tabs on all the major routes would go a long way towards providing better defenses. We wouldn’t have to wait for a distress call to actually come in before we have to start reacting... we can keep tabs on everything and be more prepared.

  6. Is the deputy undersecretary cleared for access to Starfleet’s files on our defenses? This is the kind of activity that makes Mr. Qiao look like a Klingon agent... and a particularly inept one, at that. (Despite Arne Darvin getting caught, he was actually quite a good agent... he had a good sabotage plan and a good cover, and he was only caught because of a bizarre little alien creature that he could never have foreseen either destroying his plan or revealing his identity.) But that’s an accusation I’ll have to keep in reserve, at least for the moment. For now, I’ll just sic my intelligence officer on him, put him under covert surveillance.

    The research on totalitarian agriculture particularly disturbs me. The entire point of establishing this colony is to prove that the Federation is best suited towards developing the planet and making best use of its resources... and for the Federation, that means sustainable and eco-friendly development. I may have to have a sit-down and do a little fishing (without revealing what I know) to see what kind of plans Mr. Qiao has for the colony. And I may have to do some research of my own, to see what kind of plans the Office of Colony Development has been putting together.

Question Four

  1. I’m most surprised that Safko has opted out of this pact... they’re the closest to the Penxi and are the most likely to need extra defenses. Regardless, I will only be ignoring this new Sector Guard. My existing patrol patterns are sufficient for defensive purposes, and I will not be willing to let outsiders set Starfleet defensive policies and strategies. They will learn the error of their ways, eventually, but it seems that they’re not going to listen to my recommendations. So if they choose to squander their defenses, that’s their prerogative.

  2. Mr. Qiao’s requests are overruled, the convoy will take the long way around. The only race involved with Sobchak’s Planet was seeing who gets there to settle first. That race is already over, it’s not like the Organians are going to be calling “Pencils down!” next week. Three days will not make the slightest difference.

    The escorts will be India and the Avenger destroyer squadron, the Orion (TMP destroyer), and Michtlantecuhtli (corvette). I will also order the Skua and Bali Raj to extend their patrol routes near Sobchak’s toward the convoy, and go to standing Yellow Alert in case they’re needed to respond to an emergency.

  3. This only justifies my decision to route the convoy around the nebula. (I’m getting a flashback to that scene in DS9’s “Soldiers of the Empire”, with the helm officer sarcastically acknowledging Martok’s command to go around the nebula. We’re not Klingons!)

    Whoops, I forgot to comment on my actions! Two destroyers will be sent to sweep the nebula after the colony transports reach their destination. I may toss in the Skua if needed, as well.

  4. Surprise, surprise. I’m going to consider my escorts to be a “large” force, compared to the other responses. However, Shik’s directions don’t make it clear if the ships refer to the transports, escorts, or both. I’m going to assume the two lost transports are included in the losses. This means that I’ve lost India (incredibly old, slow, and unable to respond to the quick raiders), and the Bali Raj (corvette overwhelmed by heavy fire). The transports were carrying equipment, mainly the materials for setting up the habitats and agriculture stations. Therefore, I’m going to recommend that Mr. Qiao name the settlement New Caprica City, since the colonists are going to be stuck in tents for a few weeks. ;-)

  5. No response, other than to have my intelligence officer pay a bit more attention to that system, in case the Penxi double-cross them. We’ll stand by to play the role of the knight in shining armor if necessary. Although... I’m going to see if I can use the trade agreement with these folks to slip in some intelligence agents to gather data on Penxi internal affairs, or at the very least some news about their pirate operations.

  6. I give Qiao the same response as in the last question: fuck off. I will certainly have to start taking some more aggressive positions against the Penxi, pending an official response from their government. But there will be no retaliation of any form, for the moment.

    Going forward, I’m going to have to consider planning some sort of offensive campaign, either diplomatic or military, against the Penxi. Let’s see how they react, though.

Question Five

  1. This is where I send a strong reconnaissance-in-force to pursue the raider fleet and finally get some answers. We finally have solid proof that the raiders are, at the very least, using Penxi territory as a launching point for their attacks. I will send Destroyer Squadrons A and C (Avengers and Polarises, respectively) to make a sweep of the border, getting as close as possible with active sensors going for all they're worth.

    I will make an immediate demand to the Penxi that they provide all information available concerning raider movements, and to immediately evict said groups from Penxi space. Effectively, the demand will be “clean up your mess or we’ll clean it up for you”, although I won’t actually say that part yet, because I don’t have sufficient forces to back up any such threat.

    However, I now have the first solid political grasp on the situation. With solid evidence of where they’re coming from, I can adequately pressure the Penxi to stop looking the other way for the raiders. I won’t accuse them of sponsoring state piracy (yet), nor will I order any border violations. To keep the moral high ground, we have to give the Penxi time to deal with the situation before we do anything more.

    Assuming they don’t do anything, though, I will inform them that if they refuse to deal with the pirate problem, then we will demand the right to pursue the raiders inside Penxi territory. If that’s not granted, then that would be considered an act of open support of and affiliation with the raiders, and an act of aggression against the Federation. That would not make things pleasant for them.

  2. At this stage, I’m not going to accuse the Klingons of destroying the Nernst. The raiders are known to be using technologies of Klingon design; and if there’s one thing Klingons are good at building, it’s weapons. I’d consider it far more likely, despite General Plis’Qen’s accusations of the converse, that the Nernst was attacked by raiders.

    I’m assuming that the debris field was large enough to indicate that the ship was destroyed? Or is there a possibility that the main body of the ship is intact and still active? (Translation: is this a “Dominion War battlefield” debris field, or a pansy “NX-01 in ‘Shuttlepod One’” debris field?)

  3. My response: “With all due respect, sir, you can’t be serious. We’ve already got major gaps in our patrols and defenses. We have five major Federation member worlds and a strategic new colony that’s critical to the Federation’s future status in this sector. I barely have sufficient coverage to defend two locations against one threat force; we’ve got two practically on our back doorstep. And one of those is probably engaged in undeclared warfare against the Federation at this very minute. I don’t care if those ships are sent one at a time, we need them immediately in order to ensure the safety of our citizens!”

    There’s not much I can do. I’ve already got my fleet on roaming border patrol, where they can act as rapid reaction squadrons to any immediate emergencies. I’m going to once again send a plea to the “Sector Guard” members that they desperately need to pull back their forces to provide adequate defense for their homeworlds, before it’s too late.

  4. At this stage, all I can do is re-deploy my forces to keep more of an eye on the Klingon border. My Polaris squadron will cut short its reconnaissance patrol and reverse course, sweeping back along the Penxi border to take up station between K-10 and the nebula.

    My assumption, however, is that the Klingons are about to make a move in reaction to the raider attacks. Hopefully General Plis’Qen has received some intelligence proving the Penxi role in this, and he’s about to drop the hammer on them (and not me). Towards that end, I will send — through secure channels — an inquiry to the good General, simply stating that we have received second-hand reports that there is a large force of ships headed towards the Nebula. I’d ask for some more detail in order to avoid an unneeded skirmish. I’d also point out that we could possibly pool resources (whether they be political or tactical) to move against the Penxi, if need be. We’ve both been attacked en route to Sobchak’s Planet, after all, so it seems we’re doing something the Penxi don’t like there.

  5. A civilian survey party, exploring the territory around the colony on foot, encounters a small Klingon scouting party, also on foot. A few shots are exchanged between the two sides, but in the dense, forested foliage, it doesn’t seem as if anyone hit anything (on either side). Depending on your colony’s location and distance from the Klingon settlement, this could either be an inevitable occurrence from proximity or a sinister indication of greater movements by the Klingons. React accordingly. (Oh, and regardless, Mr. Qiao is screaming bloody murder again and demanding the formation of an anti-Klingon posse with a “shoot first, ask questions never” policy. Does this actually seem like a good idea?)

Question Six

  1. You might as well have told us to just answer everyone else’s responses, Shik! ;-)

    Posted by Neutrino 123:

    Some kid gets bitten by a rare insect, and due to the characteristics of the insects venom, and falls quite ill for several days. When Qiao hears of this, he orders all insects of this variety cleared from the area. Unfortunately, biologists report that the insect’s range is confined to the small area around the colony. The science facilities of the India [or insert ship around Sobchak’s planet here] are needed to eliminate the bugs. However, the captain of the India asks for instructions on how to proceed. What do you do?

    Starfleet will not be a part of such radical terraforming. Regardless, the only ships orbiting Sobchak’s are the Brandywine (a Belleau Wood carrier) and the Shaitan (an Asmodeus corvette), and they have zero science facilities. So nyah!

    Posted by HerbShrump:

    The colony on Sobchak’s planet is in the midst of a severe crisis. Food supplies are drastically limited and certain key technological components/tools were lost all due to the attack by the Raiders before arriving at Sobchak’s planet. To complicate the matter further, the colony is being overran by large burrowing reptillian creatures (think of a monitor lizard the size of a baby elephant). These creatures have a near pack-like or herd mentality. They weren’t believed to be any danger to the colony and it’s suspected that something has changed to cause these animals to periodically go on violent destructive campaigns through the settlement. No deaths have been reported by several colonists have been injured. Mr. Qiao is demading the immediate eradication of the species, and so are a number of the colonists. Others are fighting this sentiment based on moral, ethical grounds and the Prime Directive. How can the colony be adequately protected without eliminating the animals and still placating Mr. Qiao?

    Step one: find out what’s pissing off these animals. I assume they’re not making a colony under our colony, because there’s no way the Federation planners would be that stupid. It’s probably something electronic or subspace-based. Step two: see if there’s a way to keep them away without driving them into a frenzy. Step three: remind Mr. Qiao that Federation laws expressly forbid the hunting of any species to extinction. Defensive action is the only permissible course for now. And I will make a personal threat if he goes against that.

  2. Huh. Didn’t see that one coming. I’ll have to categorically deny everything, of course, but at this stage I don’t think there’s much that I can do against the General’s accusations. I’ll simply have to resort to the usual refrain: what would the Federation gain from such a deception? Attacking an outpost in legally-recognized Klingon territory that the Federation has relinquished all claim to (or so I presume) gains us nothing. It doesn’t even disrupt the Klingons’ operations to expand to Sobchak’s Planet, which has been the apparent goal of the raiders so far. I’ll also point out that the recent raid on our convoy was launched with Klingon-made cloaking devices, which could easily have been provided by the Empire to fight a proxy war. However, I recognize that there’s a strong likelihood of theft, and I’ll also add a bit of deft flattery and point out that the Klingons rarely stoop to such tactics, so I know they aren’t responsible for the attacks against Federation forces.

  3. Shik: What’s the status of the Brandywine and the Shaitan? Destroyed, driven off, or holding outside (or even inside) the blockade line?

    At this stage the Klingons have made the first overt violation of the Organian Peace Treaty. I’ll shift what forces I have — my Avenger and Predator destroyer squadrons — closer towards Sobchak’s to launch a relief mission if deemed necessary. I’ll have to talk Plis’Qen down from his high horse, though, because there’s no way I want to launch an offensive against the entrenched Klingon forces unless absolutely necessary.

    In the mean time, assuming that the Shaitan is still operational, I’ll instruct them to make light, nonoffensive exploratory probes of the Klingon blockade, try to determine weakness, establish communication with the surface, and try to set a pattern that we can exploit later.

  4. Existing Fleet

    • USS Saratoga (NCC-1867), Miranda class
    • USS Orion (NCC-1981), Polaris class
    • USS Scorpio (NCC-1984), Polaris class
    • USS Skua (NCC-1396), Kestrel class
    • USS Dazzler (NCC-D120), Avenger class
    • USS Reporter (NCC-D159), Avenger class
    • USS Buccaneer (NCC-D218), Predator class
    • USS Spanker (NCC-D279), Predator class
    • USS Shaitan (NCC-D423), Asmodeus class
    • USS Michtlantecuhtli (NCC-D414), Asmodeus class
    • USS Brandywine (NCC-1559), Belleau Wood class
    • USS Gobi (NCC-DT23), Sahara class

    Yow! That’s a bigger fleet than I was expecting... not that I’m going to refuse it, of course! I intend to make good use of this. And of course I’m going to draft Neulovimy.

    I agree that it would be better to take on our troubles one at a time, but I’m going to make a caveat... three ships will be detached from the fleet to take station in the outer reaches of the Sobchak’s system. A Pyotr Velikiy, a Chandley, and an Avenger will join the Brandywine and the Shaitan while the rest of the fleet takes on the raiders. Let the Klingons know we’re taking the blockade seriously and have firepower waiting, but that we’re going after the real threat instead.

    The raiders are the real threat, because (1) they’re more aggressive and unpredictable, unrestrained by any treaty and fighting a covert offensive, and (2) they could easily attack our flank as we take on the Klingon blockade.

    The plan is relatively simple... destroyers will take up silent station (operating in pairs if possible) at key positions outside the system, about 0.25-ly out from the primary. Once they’re set up, three frigates will make a light probe of the system, to see what kind of trouble they can stir up. They will not heavily engage, but make it appear they weren’t expecting the kind of resistance I’m really expecting. The main goal is to gather information as to defense locations and ship types and number. After that, the main fleet — the cruisers and frigates (all quite maneuverable and not vulnerable like the India — will assault the system on a full search-and-destroy mission. The destroyers will be tasked with intercepting any ships attempting to flee the system, while we blast their base and defenses to rubble.

  5. This is an unfortunate move, but I fail to see how this is considered Federation space if it’s a neutral convoy heading between their planet and the Penxi. All I’ll do is send a stiff warning to Plis’Qen that he’s treading dangerously close to open warfare; as there’s no Federation agreement with the victims of this assault, we have no just cause. But we won’t take these attacks lying down, and we’re not going to let him push further.

  6. Morons. They’ve effectively declared war on the Klingons, given them cause to invade the whole fucking sector! And for what? 55% casualties. I’ll send their governments a nice “wish you were here” letter, and suggest they beef up their planetary defenses, since the Klingons may come calling while I’m doing my job. Oh wait, they don’t have any planetary defenses now, half of them have been blown up!

    ...Fortunately, my aide will talk me down from this rash action, and I refrain from sending the message.

  7. Okay, so I’ve lost the Shaitan, which was destroyed covering the Brandywine’s escape (my other ships, dispatched earlier, were still en route and several days away); the latter’s commander wisely ordered withdrawal once it was clear that there was no chance of a real defense, which was pretty much the minute the Penxi showed up.

    At this point, what we critically need is intelligence. We’re effectively in a state of war with the Penxi now, and we need information. I’m going to dispatch three reconnaissance-in-force missions into the closest regions of Penxi space, each composed of a frigate and two destroyers. Their orders are to avoid direct combat at all costs, but to gather information about the size, location, and disposition of the Penxi military. If weak targets of opportunity can be attacked, they can be... but only if they do not slow down the mission or jeopardize the safety of the squadron. It’s a recon first, cavalry raid second.

    The goal of this is to (1) show the Penxi we’re not taking this lying down, and hopefully make them think twice about any further attacks, (2) get vital information about the interior of their space, which is now fair game, and (3) hopefully divert some enemy forces from offensive operations for defensive stations instead.

    The strike against the raider outpost (by now it’s pretty obvious that the raiders and the Penxi are one and the same) is put on hold, because a Federation colony has been taken. Plus, Sobchak’s Planet will serve as a useful launching point for raids further into the Penxi Optimus.

    Oh, and I’ll send a polite little “told ya so” note to General Plis’Qen.

  8. Not much I can do here. No chance of infiltrating the system given my forces and the enemy’s strength, and we’re not ready for a full assault yet.

    Concerning the Klingon raid, it’s typical... they’ve bloodied the Penxi’s noses, but not much more. Though hopefully, they’ve achieved the same thing my recon forces will; force the Penxi to pull back their forces for better defense. (I’d be able to react better to the Klingon losses if I knew how big their fleet was to begin with.)

  9. This ups the ante. It’s not just about territory, it’s about resources and people. They know they can’t hold the planet against both their enemies, so they’re sacking the whole damn place instead. I was wrong, Mr. Qiao isn’t wasn’t the lowest form of scum imaginable; at least he had limits to his theories.

    I’m going to assume that the Federation Council has been informed; I’m going to send an ultimatum informing the Penxi that they’ve entered into hostilities against the Federation, and that if they don’t pull back immediately, we will not rest until their military has been dismantled and their government humbled.

  10. At this point, I can afford to be gracious... we both want the same thing. Plis’Qen’s request will be granted without any snide comments. (And technically, and can’t afford not to be gracious, because pissing him off will make cooperation difficult. Even if I was right, the Penxi went to enormous trouble to hide their agenda. Plis’Qen was simply blinded by the bigger enemy, whom he assumed was responsible.) All available resources will be provided. I will invite the General to meet with me ASAP. And I’ll tell him exactly what I commented on here.

Told you it was going to be big. Big? You call this big? I survived the Driian Blitzkreig in Sector Beta, orchestrated by the evil Admiral Timo! This is not big! :p

(Kidding, kidding...)

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