Starfleet’s mission in this sector should be prioritized as follows:
Defense and reconstruction of Ulia and Dawson’s Planet. I’d guess that some of the people on Ulia aren’t too happy with the Federation at this point, given that they were essentially neglected by both the Federation and the Klingons when bigger foes emerged during the Dominion War. The Federation needs to demonstrate its committment to the defense of all member systems and protectorates. (I’m classifying Dawson’s Planet as a protectorate, since it seems to have been protected by the Federation in pre-Dominion War days.)
Exploitation of the black dwarf system. The owner of this system seems a little unclear, however. Is it a Federation territorial posession, which is graciously being shared with the Klingons? Or is it in neutral space, which is being co-developed by both sides? In either case, the goal would be to maintain the security of the system for Federation interests, keep the Klingons happy by allowing them to have a share of the resources, and preventing Driian plundering — which in turn likely prevents the Driians from running loose in the sector again.
Pacification and stabilization of the sector by patrolling the border of the Driian Empire. In the short term, keeping the Driians fenced in is the best way to make sure that they don’t threaten their neighbors. However, that isn’t likely to do their citizens any good, given their population explosion and lack of resources. I believe that the best way to ensure long-lasting peace in the sector would be to foster trade between the Driian Empire and the Ulians, and to allow the Driians limited access to the black dwarf system, with the goal of helping them develop their civilian infrastructure and bringing them into the galactic community. However, this should not be done at the expense of the Federation’s members and protectorates, namely Ulia and Dawson’s Planet.
This is where the question of ownership of the black dwarf system comes into play. As I stated before, Ulia should be Starfleet’s top priority, and this is where I would most likely choose to focus my station-building resources. However, this leaves the black dwarf system largely ignored by Starfleet. Relations with the Klingons over the past ten years have been rather shaky, despite the alliance during the Dominion War. If the black dwarf system is Federation territory, I would be hesitant to allow a Klingon station and Klingon warships to be posted in Federation space.
Furthermore, given that both the Federation and the Klingon Empire are low on resources following the Dominion War, the black dwarf system could be key to fleetwide redevelopment projects, and could conceivably give a real boost to either (or both) sides’ fleet reconstruction projects. However, if resources aren’t as plentiful as we currently believe, a conflict could break out over the rights to mine the area.
Either way, however, my answer remains the same: use the available resources to expand the starbase facilities at Ulia. As a Federation member, this planet requires suitable defensive and commercial systems in place. I would recommend that the Klingons establish their station near the black dwarf system, to protect the system from the Driians.
One note of self-caution: If Federation-Klingon relations deteriorate at all, I may have just handed the entire system over to the Klingons. I may be counting on their good will. (Klingon good will? Is that an oxymoron?)
In contrast to most of the fleets from the Sector Alpha scenario, my task force would take a more military stance, aimed at the defense of the sector against potential incursions by the Driian Empire. However, most ships are sufficiently capable of performing all of the various duties in the sector.
The Sovereign would obviously be assigned as the fleet command ship, for general patrol. It would be based out of the Ulian starbase, but would spend most of the time out in the field.
The four Defiants would be assigned as the primary defense vessels of the sector. Two each would be assigned to Ulia and the black dwarf system, respectively. Given their relatively short deployment capabilities, they would usually stay close to port, and would form the innermost line of defense for the Federation holdings in this sector.
The two Akiras and the Excelsior would be out on general patrol, one Akira and the Excelsior based out of Ulia, the other Akira out of the black dwarf system. (Assuming the Klingons follow my recommendation and place their starbase in that system. I have a feeling they’d do that anyway, even if I recommended another location.) Their assignment would be to protect the space lanes between Ulia and the black dwarf system, and (along with the Sovereign and the Intrepid) to form the primary Response Team to any incidents that arise in the sector.
Finally, the two Steamrunners would patrol the border of the Driian Empire, and provide early warning of any incursions made by the Driians. On my order, they would also perform occasional discrete scans of the interior to monitor Driian activities.
I’m going to critique The359’s post:
Although most of our responses seem to be the same, The359 seems to place less priorty on Ulia as a Federation member, and focuses too much on the Driian threat. While I agree that the Driians need to be watched and fenced in, our responsibilities as Sector Commander go beyond that. We have to maintain the political balance of the sector by stabilizing Ulia after the disasters it has suffered.
Your recommendation to the Klingons regarding the placement of their base seems a little strange. Why have the base in another system to act as the transfer point, when you can have the transfer point in the same system? That way, it can both defend the mining operations, keep watch over the system for any Driian incursions, AND provide operations support all at the same time. (Sort of the same function that Terok Nor served during the Bajoran Occupation.)
Likewise, I’m not sure what good your “intelligence station” will do way out on the border on its own. For one thing, it’s little more than a Regula-type outpost (I’m guessing, or some equivalent), and not very powerful should the Driians start a new campaign. Starships on roaming patrol can better make the same sweeps of the border without having an extra location to defend at the same time. And finally, placing a new station on the Driian border leaves the Ulian system undeveloped and poorly defended. Ulia should be your top priority, and using the station resources to build a starbase facility (which would be a big boost to local industry and commercial traffic) and upgrade planetary defenses.
I can’t comment much on the ships you requested because there aren’t any specs provided. However, based on the look of the designs, it seems that you have a rather outdated fleet for the post-Dominion War era. None of the ships (except possibly the Excelsior-class flagship) can stand up to a single one of the Driians’ warships on its own. I believe that you will be sorely pressed should the Driians decide to launch another offensive.
Starfleet can do very little at this point, given that there is currently only one Excelsior-class starship assigned to the sector. I’d keep that ship patrolling relatively close to Ulia (maximum distance three light-years), though possibly keep it on the “side” closer to the black dwarf system in case of an emergency.
The Klingons are likely to view the Driians as out-and-out enemies given their past conflict, and I’m sure that they’ll take great exception to having Driian warships in the system “escorting” a mining convoy. Not to mention the fact that they’re highly territorial and could start treating the black dwarf system as their “territory.” If they don’t try to forcefully keep the Driians out of the system altogether, they’ll certainly be on guard to attack at the slightest Driian provocation.
I would get on the comm and try to deal with the Klingon commander, try to keep him from turning the whole matter into an international incident. As the BDS is neutral territory, the Driians have the right to mine the area if they wish. Naturally, though, they should be closely watched.
I can use a more pragmatic argument for the Klingon commander, too: Starfleet hasn’t yet assigned ships to this sector, and we have scarce resources at the moment. Starting a conflict at this point would only be to the Driians’ advantage, since they outnumber us at least 3 to 1. We should wait until the Starfleet reinforcements arrive to take any action.
However, playing for time may also play into the Driians’ plans — they’re playing for time as well. I somehow doubt that the resources they mine will go for any purpose other than the construction of more warships, which could put us at a disadvantage, even after the sector task force arrives.
I don’t see how they can complain about “bright lights” in the sky, given how there aren’t any Starfleet or Klingon patrols in the area yet. This might indicate that the Driians are running scouting missions in the area. Something to look into when the sector task force arrives.
I’d certainly provide the Dawsonites with the communications resources they request, since fostering interplanetary communication and cooperation is one of my primary objectives. Getting the Dawsonites to start to participate might help them realize that Federation assistance is a necessity for survival.
The interesting thing, though, is the appointment of an ambassador to Driia. It doesn’t strike me as something the Dawsonites would be concerned with that much, given their general avoidance of interstellar dealings. Perhaps they’re trying to get on good terms with Driia to protect their settlements from any further attacks?
The Klingons probably wouldn’t do anything at this point, since the diplomatic overtures don’t really concern them. They’re focused mainly on the black dwarf system and mining rights.
The Romulan Empire is currently a Federation ally in the post-Dominion War period. I would first attempt to communicate with the Romulan high command and request information regarding their fleet operations in Sector Beta. However, other than that I would pursue no action at present. First, I don’t have the resources to flush any Romulans (who are possibly cloaked) out of the area, and furthermore there’s no evidence yet that they’re hostile.
The Klingons are more uncertain. We all know how well the Klingons get along with the Romulans, but I believe that the wartime alliance has been maintained fairly well. However, if the Romulan scouts snoop too near to the black dwarf system, there could be a confrontation.
I’d advise the Klingons to do the same thing I’m doing: ignore the Romulans for now. As long as they don’t make any hostile moves, it’s not really that important. Our main military priority is the Driians.
One Federation starship (pick one), while on patrol near the Driian border, comes across a seriously damaged Driian ship. The ship is on the far side of the border (inside Driian space) and is leaking plasma. A warp core breach appears imminent. There are no other Driian ships within sensor range, although they may be lurking nearby. The starship captain calls you for instructions. (Assuming you’re not personally commanding the ship.)
Combat scenario: Driian assault on Ulia.
USS Sentinel detects a squadron of 7 Driian Noynac-class attack cruisers on course for Ulia. The squadron is 7.1 light-years from Ulia and proceeding at Warp 8. (I’m going to assume that Driian ships are somewhat slower than Federation ships, given that those closet-minded xenophobic idiots aren’t quite advanced as the powerful, intellectually superior Federation. ;-) )
War Games, Engagement 1: Response Plan
All available ships would be called in to assist in the defense of Ulia. I’m assuming that the Ulian planetary defense system is worth approximately two warships, maybe three. The Cerberus, the Furies, theHercules, and the Saratoga would remain in orbit or immediately return to planetary orbit — all ships should be in-system anyway. USS Fredrickson would be recalled to join the defense also.
I would request that the Qu’vat also join the defense of Ulia, the Vor’cha is capable of reaching the planet ahead of the Driian fleet. The two B’rels and the two Defiants would remain at the BDS to defend the system.
The Crusader (my flagship) would link up with the Sentinel and perform a number of harrying actions against the Driian force while in transit, attempting to delay their advance and weaken their strength when they arrive at Ulia.
Once the Driians approach the system (approximately half a light-year), the Crusader and the Sentinel would break off their engagements and race ahead of the Driian force to join the rest of the defense ships. The plan is to engage the Driian ships before they enter the system, to keep the potential damage to Ulia at a minimum. Having gathered eight ships, I am certain we can defeat the Driian force handily, especially with the Ulian planetary defense system as a backup.
Originally posted by The359:
The Driian’s heavily guarded commercial fleet is reported dispatched from the Driian Empire and are heading toward the Black Dwarf System. A Romulan Scoutship is also reported in the vicinity, heading toward the freighter fleet. Mysteriously, the Romulan ship and Driian fleet disappear from sensors. From what has been witnessed it is apparent the Romulans have aided the Driians by giving them cloaking devices. Create a threat assessment possibility for Ulia, Dawson’s Planet, and the Black Dwarf System, listing reasons why the Driians would or would not go after each of these key areas. Then make a guess as to where the Driians are actually heading and determine how to readjust your fleet to stop the Driian onslaught.
Well, this scenario would certainly raise hell in the sector. Mainly because it would totally change the balance of power, heavily in the Driians’ favor. So far, Starfleet and the Klingons have relied on their ability to monitor the Driians and be able to counter any incursions out of their territory. But if the Driians can evade detection, there’s a strong possibility that they’d be able to launch major assaults on either the Black Dwarf System or Ulia itself, and give Starfleet very little reaction time.
I’d also get on the Priority 1 Comm channel direct to Starfleet Command, inform them of the situation, and immediately request at least five more ships, preferably ten. And I’d also ask them to contact the Federation Council and see just what the frell is going on with the Romulans, and why they’re allying with an enemy of the Federation and the Klingon Empire. That’s a serious potential crisis there.
I’ll critique Shik’s assault strategy.
First, while I appreciate General Vargh’s confidence in his forces’ ability to defend the sector, I must question the decision to launch offensive war games in the sector. This is likely to be highly provocative. Certainly the Driians are watching our every move, and what do you think they’d do if they saw us running exercises that are clearly designed to launch an attack on a planetary target? That would put their forces on high alert, and probably ruin any chance at a diplomatic solution to this whole situation. Sure, we’re nobody’s fools, even though our basic goal is peace. (Good quote there.) I just think that running offensive war games would totally torpedo any hope of a peaceful solution.
The actual strategy seems sound, although your ultimate goal for the planetary assaults is left undefined. I assume this is a simple raid on the three planets, and not a full-scale assault or an invasion? Either way, splitting your forces up into so many small groups leave each task force likely to be outgunned by the Driians. They’ve got fifteen ships that are deployed within a limited area (presumably all within their borders). Therefore, your assault ships are likely to encounter very heavy resistance, and I doubt they would achieve whatever goals the attack plan had laid out. Certainly you’d end up causing very little damage to the Driians overall.
Just to recap...
Hmm. It seems that the Driians won’t learn. The first thing I’d do is request that the Klingons send a cloaked Bird-of-Prey and confirm our long-range scans.
I’d try the diplomatic route first, although I don’t have much hope for its success. I’d call up the Driian representative and express my concerns about the amount of material they’re mining from the BDS, without revealing what I know about their shipbuilding program. I’d expect the Driian representative to give me the standard assurances, and so on. Then I’d pull out the sensor data the Klingons gave me, and show them the proof.
Assuming the Driians remain uncooperative, I’d then announce a blockade of the Black Dwarf system, to prevent any Driian ships from entering the region. I’d have to rely on the Klingons’ cooperation here, but I’m going to take that as a given. Currently deployed are two Defiant-class ships, two B’rel-class Birds-of-Prey, and a Vor’cha-class attack cruiser. The USS Crusader (Sovereign-class, my flagship) and USS Cerberus (Akira-class) would be reassigned to the Black Dwarf System to join the blockade. (The BDS isn’t that far away at an Akira or Sovereign’s high speeds, so they should still be available to defend Ulia if need be.)
Revised Deployment Plan 1
Finally, I’d begin drawing up plans for a preemptive strike against the Driian shipyards (Shik, you may have been right after all) to take out their new shipyards or at least cripple/delay construction. I’d keep this only as a contingency plan for now, though. Mainly because an attack would certainly lead to warfare, and at this stage that’s something I’d rather prevent. I might be able to seriously hurt the Driians with the ships I’ve got, but that wouldn’t do much for the long-term stability of the sector.
Well, given that the Driians are currently busy building up their war fleet again, I don’t see the patrols as a bad thing... assuming the Klingons behave themselves. This new General strikes me as a probable loose cannon. Given that he was defeated by the Driians before, he’s almost certainly going to be out for revenge.
Something else to consider is that this General isn’t likely to cooperate with the other Klingon task force in the BDS — notice that the new ships were originally sent in response to the increased Klingon mining of the BDS... but for some reason, that job has translated into aggressive patrolling of the Driian border.
Also, it’s not certain just how Federation-friendly this new commander may be. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that this new General was fighting for the Duras family during the Civil War, considering how cooperative the Klingon station commander has been so far. That means that the new General may not be inclined to cooperate with me. Especially considering that, as commander of Klingon forces in this sector during the Dominion War, he was effectively left on his own by Starfleet. He could be holding a grudge there...
On the up side, I’ve now got some more ships covering the southern region of the sector, which was generally ignored before. Should there be any problems involving Dawson’s Planet and the Driians, I can probably count on those ships to assist the Majestic (my Akira-class ship in that area).
Revised Deployment Plan 2
Sigh. Can’t we all just get along?
My first job is to keep the Klingons from going nuts. I’m certain that they’re not going to be happy about the Romulans showing up and trying to horn in on their effective control of the BDS. I’ll try to placate them by arguing that there’s still plenty to go around, and this can be solved without worrying about who gets what share.
At the same time, I’d send along a red flag to Starfleet Command, and inform them of a probable diplomatic crisis. Territorial posessions are a bit out of my purview.
However, pending a response from Starfleet, I’d respect the Romulans’ established borders and try to make contact with the local Romulan commander. I’d explain the situation, point out that we’re all friends here and perfectly willing to share the BDS; but their heavy-handed tactics are not welcome. I’d strongly request that they relinquish their claim to the territory, and respect the neutrality of the system.
I may wish to pass on a recommendation to Starfleet to try to establish some sort of official protocol regarding the neutrality of the system and the availability of its resources for all. Posting a big “welcome” sign would promote trade in the sector, hopefully keep the peace, and keep everyone happy by ensuring that there’s enough for everyone.
There’s a down side, though — posting a “welcome” sign would kind of contradict the blockade which prevents the Driians from mining the system, and would make the Federation look like hypocrites.
Revised Deployment Plan 3
Well, this is getting us pretty close to war now. I’ve classified Dawson’s Planet as a Federation Protectorate, and therefore the Driian military base is an incursion on Federation territory. Although the Dawsonites haven’t been the most open and probably would resent being regarded as a protectorate, I’ve included them in the general defensive region. And if I can’t claim that the Federation holds the deed to Dawson’s Planet, I can still claim that the Driians have invaded one of their neighbors.
I’d be sporting and send of a very stern warning to the Driians, and tell them to withdraw their military base and ships, or else. No more pussyfooting around.
My primary defensive responsibility remains Ulia, which is a Federation member. That’s my ultimate priority.
Dawson’s Planet has become the hot spot for now. When I first took command of this sector, one of my primary responsibility was the containment of the Driian Empire. That means not only ensuring the safety of Ulia directly, but also to ensure the stability of the sector by preventing Driian aggression against the other systems in the region.
However, in the past the Driians also maintained control of both Ulia and the Black Dwarf System, and if their return to Dawson’s Planet heralds a renewed Driian campaign, it’s likely that they’ll turn their sights towards both of those planets.
The BDS is likely to be their first target after consolidating their forces on Dawson’s Planet. The BDS is the key to their expansion in the sector, since it would provide them with the resources to support their fleet and rebuild their planetary infrastructure. (I’m sure that the planetary reconstruction has been neglected in the Driian civilian sector.)
Ulia is unlikely to come under direct attack in the immediate future, given that there are more tempting (and resource-rich) targets to the south. However, should the Driian advance continue unhindered, Ulia is certain to become a target.
This “independent finding” is pure fiction. This “evidence” does nothing but attempt to establish a Driian claim to Ulia as well. One must wonder, if the Driians had such outposts on Dawson’s Planet and Ulia before, then what happened to them? And why were they totally forgotten before now?
In any case, their territorial claims are worth nothing, because those colonies were obviously abandoned at some point in the past. Therefore, the Federation fully rejects the Driians’ claim to both Dawson’s Planet and Ulia.
It appears that the Driians are moving somewhat faster than expected. They may be turning their eye towards Ulia sooner than we thought. And this talk about old Driian colonies may be a prelude to a full-scale invasion.
Question Four, Part One
Guest Lecture by Timo
0400 hours: The Klingon transport Rokash, two days in transit from the BDS (H5) to the Lone Star garrison (B1) with a classified cargo, sends out a general, automated distress call, which cuts short. Then, on a Klingon frequency, you hear a brief coded burst, then the subspace noises associated with a core breach.
Assuming that the Rokash had a maximum speed of Warp 7, that places the location at approximately 3.6 light-years distant from the Black Dwarf System, in grid F4. My Sovereign-class starship, the Crusader, can cover that distance in about 12 hours, at Warp 9.9.
However, that’s a long haul for one small freighter, with no information on survivors. I’d order long-range scans for Driian warships, and inquire with General Vargh as to just what that freighter was carrying, and what that coded signal was about. As a backup, I’d instruct my communications officer to work on decrypting the mysterious coded message.
1100 hours: Your second-strongest starship engages in wargames with one of General Ren’Qo’s cruisers and one of his BoPs as scheduled. The exercise takes place at the star system at (I2). Other Klingon ships, save for the usual ore transports from BDS to the Empire, are supposed to be at port (1 BoP + 1 K’t’inga at the Lone Star, 2 BoPs + 1 Vor’cha wherever you put the Klingon comm station).
USS Majestic (Akira-class), IKS Mek’pal (K’t’inga-class), and IKS Qel (B’rel-class) are now located in grid I2.
Revised Fleet Deployment Plan, Version 4
1200 hours: A scheduled Starfleet supply run ought to enter comm range about now, at the vicinity of the star at (A1). It does not report in. You expected it to reach Ulia in about three days, with spares for your fourth-biggest ship which is currently warp-incapable and stranded at Ulia.
I’m going to assume you meant grid A10, which on my map translates to grid A9.
The USS Saratoga (Intrepid-class) is now stranded in the Ulian system. Fortunately, it’s still available for planetary defense should the need arrive.
1400 hours: Your second-strongest starship reports a disastrous collision with the Klingon cruiser during high-speed impulse maneuvers. A drive failure has left them on unstable orbits, heading for the star. Evacuation will become necessary in twelve hours (one grid square of travel), and repair time estimates for your ship are gloomier than that. Your captain also estimates it will take the resources of a full starship to tow even one of the ships to safety within the time limit. Contact with the Klingon cruiser cannot be made. The BoP that was also supposed to be participating in the exercise under cloak does not respond, either. The tired voice of a low-ranking underling of General Vargh on the Klingon channel expects you to handle the emergency, as the Klingons have more pressing matters to attend to.
Okay, now I’m pissed. I’m out an Akira-class heavy cruiser because of Klingon overeagerness. Not only that, but my Klingon allies are now refusing to cooperate in this disaster. “More pressing matters” is complete bullshit, as if there was something more important than the combined fleet losing two cruisers, I’d know about it.
Fortunately, help is available. The location of the accident is 5 light-years distant from the Black Dwarf System, and the Crusader can make that distance in 14 hours. (Note: this is the ship that I am personally commanding. Just wanted to establish where I am at the moment.)
I wonder if this has something to do with the previously-mentioned feud between Vargh and Ren’Qo. It was actually Ren’Qo’s ship that collided with mine during the war games. Unfortunately, I don’t have sufficient information at this moment to come to any conclusion on the matter.
Crusader ETA at grid I2: Day 2, 0400 hours.
2100 hours: A Klingon mining operation with some UFP workers, desperate to reduce the intolerable workload imposed by a Klingon desire to mine out the location before the Romulans get to it, goes on strike at (I5). The loss of life and limb in mining accidents already exceeds even Klingon tolerance limits. General Vargh sends in a standard strikebreaker team in four assault shuttles. His Vor’cha is observed to power up, engage cloak and head for parts unknown.
On my map, the BDS is located in grid H5/I5.
Wonderful. The Klingons are not only overeager, but they’re also paranoid. It seems that my allies are working behind the Federation’s back and screwing up everything in this sector.
The mysterious disappearance of the Vor’cha is my primary concern. The blockade of the Black Dwarf system has now been reduced to two BoP’s, two Defiants, and an Akira. (Plus the armaments of the Klingon station.)
I can’t do anything about the problem with the mining operations right now. But if any Federation citizens are hurt or killed because of Klingon mismanagement, I’ll have Vargh’s head on a platter.
2400 hours: Your distressed ship is forced to evacuate. Your supply ship still doesn’t report in. And the Klingon strikebreakers apparently have not succeeded, as Vargh is sending out a BoP, uncloaked, towards the rebelling mining rig. Your observers now get a peek at Vargh’s hangar bay, and the other BoP is missing as well. You weren’t informed of that departure.
The Crusader is still en route to rendezvous with the Majestic, ETA approximately 2 hours before the latter ship is due to crash into the sun. The crew will survive in the escape pods for a few hours, assuming there’s no more funny business going on in that system.
The missing Bird-of-Prey is a huge problem. The Klingons have now effectively abandoned all of their posts in the Black Dwarf System, totally without notice. I’m rather worried as to what that Bird-of-Prey (with a crew of only 12) expects to do against a mining rig full of angry workers.
0400 hours: The Crusader arrives in the vicinity of star I2. The ship collects the escape pods from the Majestic, and pulls the crippled ship away from the star. Unfortunately, I’m unable to save the Mek’pal, and it is consumed by the firey gases of the solar inferno. I’m running continuous scans, but I find no trace of either escape pods from the Mek’pal, nor any trace of the other Bird-of-Prey, the Qel. (Lifeform scans on the Mek’pal before it was destroyed were inconclusive.)
Revised Fleet Deployment Plan, Version 5
0600 hours: The damaged Klingon cruiser and your starship impact the star and are consumed, provided you didn’t tow them to a safe trajectory. If you did, either ship should be good enough for warp tow now, but their own drive systems are still down. You have also located the debris cloud that was the Rokash. The ship seems to have suffered a core breach while at full stop at (E3). Vargh doesn’t answer the phone, and Ren’Qo denies any knowledge of the incident. He acts surprised when he hears your report on the wargames accident — he wasn’t even informed, he growls, before cutting the channel.
Oh, this is rich. Ren’Qo is upset that he wasn’t informed about a disaster involving his own ships? When one of his ships is missing in action and has apparently deserted the area? Well, screw him.
Towing Majestic, which weighs about ⅔ as much as the Crusader, is going to take quite a while. Owing to the greatly expanded warp field which is needed to cover both ships, I can only make Warp 5 on the return trip to the Black Dwarf System. The BDS seems to be the logical place to get equipment and repairs, anyway. Unfortunately, the ETA to the BDS is approximately 8 days.
1000 hours: The Romulan warbird roosting at Dawson’s (E2) seems to be preparing to get underway. The Driians inquire about your recent activity, and say they already had to beef up their escorts of BDS ore transport runs in case there’s something dangerous out there. They declare a convoy of theirs is heading towards BDS, with nine Noynacs escorting six transports.
Oh, this is just what I needed. The Romulans apparently getting into this mess is bad enough, but the Driians sending nine Noynacs to the BDS? I’ve already established a blockade around the system, because in the last question I discovered that the Driians were busy building their Konyac-class heavy cruisers. So I can not let the Driians have access to the BDS, or I risk losing a lot of face.
Unfortunately, I don’t have many ships that can stand up to nine Noynacs without leaving many other assets in the sector undefended. With the Klingons around, I wouldn’t mind taking the Driians on, but on my own, success is not too likely.
Of course. I’d rely on ingenuity here. I’d instruct the three Starfleet ships in the BDS to start erecting a minefield, to try and slow down the Driian advance, and to show that we mean business. I don’t know how effective the mines would be, but we can but try.
I’d begin calling ships in towards the Black Dwarf System, without shifting the deployment plan too much. The Vigilant (Steamrunner-class) would be assigned to shadow the Driian convoy and keep an eye on them, but also to stay out of trouble and avoid a hostile encounter.
Revised Fleet Deployment Plan, Version 6
1800 hours: Vargh finally acknowledges you. He says that three of his mining rigs are rebelling, and that there are humans on all of them. He’d hate to kill them when he mows down the Klingon strikers, and in general he’d like to avoid killing valuable laborers. Perhaps you could personally come to (I5) and negotiate a peaceful outcome?
I’d be tempted to laugh in Vargh’s face if the situation weren’t so serious. We’re not at the Klingons’ beck and call here. If he’d let us know that there was a strike going on in the first place, I would have stepped in immediately and mediated a solution to this whole argument. But instead the Klingons have to go in with the Big Guns (not to mention sneaking off to who-knows-where, too), and now, with the Driians breathing down our necks, the whole situation is about to blow up in our faces.
I’d consult with the Captain of the Majestic, and he assures me that his crew can handle themselves for a few days until more help arrives, or until they can get the engines repaired on their own. (I’m going to assume that the damage might be field-reparable, but a lengthy process.)
And so the Crusader is off to the BDS at maximum warp again — which is reduced due to the great strain on the engines from towing the other ship. ETA (at Warp 9): 28 hours, or 2200 on Day 3.
2000 hours: Your starship closest to the Lone Star garrison observes the warp signature of a single unknown smallish ship at (B3), moving towards the garrison at high warp, ETA 1 day. The ship then disappears from the sensors. At the same time, the human miners on strike send out a distress call, referring to a bloody assault by strikebreakers in which five Feds were killed.
Well, screw the Klingons at the Lone Star garrison. I can’t do anything about them anyway. The only problem is that if the ship was probably Driian in origin, and if it disappeared from sensors, then it’s probably cloaked. Something else to worry about...
And now I’m really, really pissed at Vargh. I told him that I was coming in to negotiate the situation, and he apparently has gone ahead and launched an attack on the miners anyway, resulting in the death of Federation citizens. I’m going to have his head on a platter. It’s a shame that the Starfleet code of justice doesn’t accomodate Klingons very much, or I’d execute him for incompetence. (Of course, he’s not my underling.)
But recriminations are all in the future. I’d just ask my engineer for one of his miracles, and try to step up the ship’s maximum speed. My engineer’s Scottish heritage comes to the forefront here, and he tells me that the engines “cannae take much more!” Updated ETA to the BDS: 22 hours, or 1800 on Day 3.
0600 hours: Your Dawson contacts report the Romulan warbird sailed out during the night. Driian agitators down on the archaeological dig are stepping up their efforts now that the Romulan presence has weakened. Still, there are Romulan “advisors” all over the dig area, mostly welcomed by the Dawsonites. They arrest some of the agitators.
Good for the Romulans. If the Dawsonites want them there, then that’s fine, and I can’t do much about it anyway.
1000 hours: Your starship closest to (E5) observes the Driian convoy there. The Driians scan the vicinity aggressively, their weapons are hot, but they don’t deviate from their usual ore run course.
Getting uppity, are they? Lucky us. I’d instruct the Vigilant to respond in kind.
1200 hours: According to your nearest assets, a ship briefly decloaks at (E3), next to the wreckage of the transport, and fires into it half a dozen times, then swiftly recloaks. Not much more can be observed. News of a minor fight on Dawson’s reach you. Romulans offer to send in police forces.
It seems that we’ve now sighted one of the Klingons’ missing ships. I’d wager that it was one of the Birds-of-Prey.
As for Dawson — sure, go ahead. That’s up to the Dawsonites anyway.
1800 hours: There is a huge explosion at one of the three rebelling mining rigs, probably their main reactor blowing up. No survivors are expected from such a disaster.
Uh-huh. Isn’t that just peachy? Just as I’m arriving, the Klingons arrange for a welcoming fireworks display. It’s unlikely that the miners would blow themselves up, or have any fight going on near the main reactor. I’d be ready to blame that Bird-of-Prey that Vargh sent in.
Now that I’ve arrived aboard the Crusader at the BDS, I’m ready to mediate the situation.
Question Four, Part Two
Guest Lecture by Timo
At the end of day 3, Vargh is ready to talk shop with you. He assures you that his strikebreakers did not use excessive force the first time around: the human casualties must be due to some freak accident. He also vehemently denies that his forces caused the explosion of the other rig. He swears on the honor of his sword that he aims for a peaceful solution, and that spies and saboteurs are at work here to undermine him. He hesitates to name any names yet, though. As a gesture of trust, Vargh places his resident BoP under your command. The other ships are “on assignment”, supposedly trying to find out more about the saboteurs, whom Vargh considers to be a greater threat than the Driians at the moment. And no, the ship that fired on the wreckage wasn’t one of his.
For some odd reason, I think I’m going to trust General Vargh. Though I certainly would have appreciated more information on what was going on previously. Not to mention the fact that the “spies and saboteurs” excuse is rather flimsy and unoriginal.
Nevertheless, he seems sincere. “Swearing on the honor of his sword” is one of the greatest oaths that a Klingon can make. Furthermore, he’s placed the remaining Bird-of-Prey (IKS L’taka) under my direct command — no small favor there.
So, there are three things to deal with:
- The rebelling mining outposts. I’m tempted to go visit the rigs in person, to try to negotiate some kind of settlement. But I can’t do that until I establish contact. But if there’s some kind of conspiracy going on around here, then I’ve got to be extra careful — because the object of that conspiracy is very likely to disrupt allied authority in this sector. Given my command of Vargh’s BoP, I’m going to hold off all further offensive action for the moment, and place the L’taka on blockade duty. I’ll continue transmitting messages to the two mining rigs. Also, I’m going to send in a couple of Starfleet engineering teams to check out the wreckage of that destroyed mining rig — I want to know just what destroyed it.
- The wrecked transport Rokash. There’s something about that transport that’s not right. The coded signal I can understand to a point, but just who attacked the ship in the first place? And why?
- General Ren’Qo’s missing Bird-of-Prey. Assuming Vargh is telling the truth, and one of his ships did not fire on the wreckage, the only other ship whose wherabouts are unknown is the B’rel-class IKS Qel. Which means that Ren’Qo is getting involved in this mess somehow...
Throughout the night, attempts are made to establish communications with the surviving two rebel rigs - in vain.
Very odd. As I recall, they were asking for help just a few days earlier. Now they won’t respond when I’m around and offering assistance? There’s something fishy here.
0200 hours: A battle ensues near the Lone Star garrison at (B1): Ren’Qo’s cruiser is making short work of an intruding vessel, a Driian scout with a sensor shield of some sort. Not good enough a shield, it seems.
Good for them. One thing worries me: you said cruiser, in the singular form. There should actually be two ships at the Lone Star outpost...
The other big question is: just where did the Driians get this primitive cloaking device? The Romulans? Or did they develop it on their own? (It would be suicidal to assume they can’t come up with something like that on their own, but ruling out Romulan interference would not be smart, either.)
Just where are the Romulans, anyway?
0800 hours: The warp signatures of at least two Klingon ships are observed at (G1). Due to overtasking of their engines, their cloaks are leaking - enough for you to determine they are heading for the Lone Star Garrison. Vargh lets slip that he thinks Ren’Qo is escalating his forces for something big. But Ren’Qo’s House currently doesn’t have too many ships to escalate with: a further pair of K’t’ingas, perhaps, and some more BoPs.
This could be bad. Whatever Ren’Qo is trying to fool around with, he’s not including us in the picture. Could it be some kind of lone, covert offensive against the Driians? Or is it part of his vendetta against the House of Vargh?
I’m not sure if my forces can handle both the Driians and Ren’Qo’s forces, if it comes down to it. And given that Ren’Qo was assigned to this sector to help guard against the Driians in the first place, I’m not too confident that they’d be a help anyway.
If Ren’Qo is planning some kind of strike against the Driians, that could cause a lot of trouble as well. I’m trying to prevent open warfare here, especially because I’m short a few ships. If Ren’Qo’s forces attack the Driians, the Driians are likely to group Starfleet and Vargh’s forces in and blame them, too.
Although on the bright side, Vargh’s Vor’cha might end up returning, and that would help things out a bit. I’m going to start making some persistent (but polite) inquiries as to where his other ships are. I won’t demand he recall them, I just want to know where they are.
0900 hours: Your missing transport finally makes contact from (A8), caught in a “Force of Nature” style subspace pothole. The ship is trying to get out at impulse speed, and will undoubtedly succeed in a week or two. The transport crew launched out a warp-speed distress beacon, but even that caused the rift to expand and destabilize alarmingly. You could try the LaForge maneuver: coast in with your nacelles saturated and beam out the crew and/or the crucial spares, then coast out. But it might take several passes, and even strand your rescue ship in there.
Aww, frell. This is just what I needed.
I’m going to send the Fredrickson (Excelsior-class) out to help the transport. It wouldn’t be good in a fight against the Driians (the Fredrickson is a veteran of the Dominion War, and due to be decommissioned soon), but it’s still got the power and space to perform the operations necessary to rescue the crew and cargo.
The Fredrickson can make up to Warp 9, but only for a limited time. (Remember that this is a movie-era ship.) So let’s say that the ship can make an average speed of Warp 8 for the whole trip across the sector (12.7 light-years). At that speed, I can expect the Fredrickson to rendezvous with the transport in approximately 4.5 days. Not fast enough to help out with this crisis, most likely, but at least it’ll help rescue the ship. I’ve got to do something.
The transport is USS Grand Canyon, Istanbul-class, registry NCC-38114.
1200 hours: Your wargame-damaged vessel (supposing you rescued it in the first place) has now been repaired to a battleworthy condition by its crew, although warp is still a bit unreliable, giving you half the normal speed at best. You’d need the same spares that your ship at Ulia needs in order to restore full functionality.
Okay, I’m glad my gamble there paid off. The Majestic (Akira-class) is approximately 4.7 light-years distant from the Black Dwarf System. If their normal maximum speed is Warp 9.6 (1909 c), then her current maximum would be half that, or (950 c). That translates to approximately Warp 7.8.
Majestic’s ETA to the Black Dwarf System: 1 day, 19 hours (Day 6, 0700 hours).
It’s a good thing that I don’t have to wait for the spares to get at least partial capacity out of the ship, because it would take at least a week to get the spares from the Grand Canyon down to the Black Dwarf System. I’ll have to requisition Starfleet for some more spares.
At the same time, I’m going to have to ask them what the frell they’re going to do about those new ships I asked for. I haven’t heard a thing from Starfleet Command since I transmitted the request almost two weeks ago!
Current Fleet Deployment, Revision 8
1400 hours: First contact of sorts is made with the mining rig where the Feds were killed when one of Vargh’s agents escapes and reports in. Apparently, the strikers have erected transporter and comm jammers and mined the shuttlebays and other entrances, but are internally divided about the course of action. The agent also discovered and disarmed a doomsday machine connected to the main reactor, set to blow up if the rig was boarded. No Klingon of honor would do this as a barricading measure — Klingon warriors don’t hold anybody hostage, not even themselves. If they are cornered, they don’t threaten with suicide, they commit it, usually by charging into enemy fire. So this proves there is a foreign mole aboard, or so Vargh insists. His agent also claims the Feds aboard were killed by stray fire during the confused retreat of the first wave of strikebreakers - from back wounds.
Hmm... This doesn’t make sense. If someone is inciting the strikes, then how are they controlling the situation? And why? I must agree with Vargh’s conclusion that someone’s manipulating the situation — it does indeed fit in with what’s gone on so far. If the moles are setting booby traps in the main reactors, to make it look like an accident or a victim of Vargh’s “attacks” on the striking workers... that would certainly help to screw things around some more.
The dead UFP citizens also make sense, now. If there are a few people in there trying to exacerbate the situation, killing a few Humans would do the trick, and get me mad at Vargh. A couple of moles hiding in the mobs could shoot some Humans who were on the front lines.
I’m starting to suspect that Ren’Qo is the one to blame here. These are primarily Klingon workers on a Klingon station. There’d be no reason for the Romulans to get involved, since this was not their territory, and there’s no conflict. The Driians have enough problems, and can’t infiltrate the Klingon mines anyway. Federation people inciting all this is unlikely in the extreme. That leaves Ren’Qo.
He’s the one who’s a rival of Vargh. He’s the one who’s likely to have connections to Vargh’s forces, since they’re both Klingon, and easily set up moles in the mining facilities. He’s the one who crashed his cruiser into my ship, and the other one disappeared.
The thing is, there’s not much besides damage control that I can do at the moment. His forces are way on the other side of the sector. Plus there’s the Driians to worry about.
2000 hours: Vargh’s Vor’cha decloaks at (E3) and begins exhaustive scanning of the wreckage of the Rokash. Coded messages fly between the ship and both Klingon strongholds. After a few hours, the ship abandons the site, turns back towards Vargh’s main base, and cloaks. Your codebreakers now say they have enough material to eventually decipher the messages. They can tell you at once that the message sent from the dying Rokash on day 1 wasn’t on Vargh’s current code, though.
That’s very, very odd. And once again confirms my suspicions that Ren’Qo is behind this. If they’re both Klingon codes, but the freighter sent out one totally different from the one used by Vargh’s forces. But I’m assuming that the Rokash was Vargh’s frieghter... and if so, then why did it use someone else’s code?
I’m also wondering why that Vor’cha was communicating with the Lone Star outpost, too. It sounds like Vargh already has some suspicions of his own.
2300 hours: The Driian ore convoy reaches BDS and heads for the main Driian ore loading port there, at (H4). Unless you object by force, the transports will begin loading, and the Noynacs will deploy defensively. It looks innocent enough. Two Romulan scouts in the area make passes and sensor sweeps of the Driian expedition. They don’t bother your local assets.
Yeah, but I’m going to object. Very strenuously. Just to recap: when I got indications back in Question Three that the Driians were building some of their big Konyac-class heavy cruisers, I announced a blockade of the Black Dwarf System against all Driian transports and warships. So far they haven’t tested the blockade in force. But now, they get to find out that I’m quite serious.
Six Starfleet and Klingon ships (plus the minefield I started setting up in the last question) against nine Driian Noynacs. I’m going to assume that the six transports are not armed.
I laid the minefield along the outer perimeter of the Black Dwarf system. They’re set for proximity swarm detonation, similar to the minefield set up in DS9’s “Call to Arms.” I figure that any ship that gets hit by the mines is going to be seriously crippled. (It’s a shame that Vargh was too busy with the strikes, or I might’ve asked for cloaking devices for those mines. That would have been a very nasty surprise for the Driians!)
I don’t expect the minefield to be fully operational, and given that this is open space we’re dealing with, and not a localized area like the Bajoran Wormhole, the mines can’t be totally effective. However, I hope that the mines will at least limit the Driians’ options, so that we’ll be able to cover them from more angles and keep them away from the BDS.
As the Driian ships approach, I transmit a final warning that their vessels are not welcome in this system. They are to reverse course immediately.
Naturally, they don’t listen. The transports fall back, as they’re unarmed, apparently intending to wait out the battle. The attack cruisers advance in standard formation.
It’s going to be an interesting battle, but I’m confident that we’ll be victorious.
To summarize the battle: I run a pincer attack on the Driian forces, attacking from the sides but not in the middle. I try to harry their forces, keep them centrally located and in one group. I make a kill if I can take it. Should they stand and fight, I can make strafing runs and take out their cruisers with my superior firepower. If they try to run the blockade into the Black Dwarf System, they’ll be slowed down by the mines, and I can still take care of them. Should any of the ships get into the asteroid field, they’d be easy pickings at the hands of a Defiant or a Bird-of-Prey, too. And if the Driians choose to run, then that’s that.
Projected allied losses: moderate damage to the Vigilant, the Cerberus, the Victory, and the L’taka, and light damage to all other ships.
Projected Driian losses: at least five Noynac-class cruisers destroyed, all other ships flee the area. No enemy vessels enter the BDS.
Following this engagement, I send the two Defiants in to present an eviction notice to the Driians running their processing facility within the BDS. They have twelve hours to evacuate, or there will be... “unfortunate” consequences. (Hopefully they won’t realize that I’m bluffing, given the recent battle.)
The ships heading for Lone Star pass Dawson’s close enough for your local assets to sense there are four Klingon vessels under that cloak: two old cruisers and two smaller, better-cloaked ships, probably newish BoPs. ETA at Lone Star, roughly one day.
Uh-huh. Ren’Qo is doubling his forces... almost. I must say now that I’m glad I didn’t bother to save that old cruiser of Ren’Qo’s... It might have returned to haunt me.
Of course, there could be an innocent explanation for this. Ren’Qo might have summoned reinforcements given the Driian aggression at the end of the last part of the scenario. It’s kind of odd that they got here this quickly, though...
Current Fleet Deployment, Revision 9
0100 hours: A Driian Noynac is nicked by a Klingon mine (of the exploding kind — that is, the kind that’s supposed to explode). The Driians vent their anger by taking potshots at Klingon buoys, then regroup to prepare for the Klingon response.
Gee... this is a N/A since I kicked the Driians out of the BDS.
And no, I didn’t confront the Driians just to worm my way out of this confrontation. ;-)
0300 hours: The Driians fire at some more buoys and maintain their defensive posture. Clearly, they wonder about the unusual Klingon restraint. They ignore you unless you actually fire at them.
0400 hours: The Driians are compelled to act: their transports abort loading and blast out from the asteroid field at somewhat reckless speed, escorted by two Noynacs only. The other seven form an attack squadron of typical Driian tradition and intrude deep into Klingon mining turf, shrugging off the occasional mine detonation and making it difficult for anything but a starship of Defiant or Intrepid agility to follow. Seeing that it’s futile to try and reach the Klingon main base, they instead surround the richest motherlode in the field, fire at the feeble sessile defences of the largest Klingon mining rig there, and then turn their guns at the habitat domes of the rig. These guys are not above taking hostages. They proceed with raiding the installation; their ships fight back while broadcasting an ultimatum “Back off or the miners bite it.”
At the same time, your assets near Driian border report the emergence of what looks like three light and two heavy cruisers at (C3). They all have the flickering half-cloaks of the earlier scouting ship, though, so it’s a bit difficult to get a reliable count. It seems obvious they are headed for Lone Star. Or Dawson’s. ETA at either would be 30-40 hours at known Driian speeds.
I can twist this around a bit and classify this as a Driian retaliation for attacking their convoy. (Although it seems Timo didn’t count on anyone actually fighting the Driians when they arrived at the BDS...)
It appears that the Driians have completed work on their first Konyac-class heavy cruisers. Nuts. If the Driians decide to go for the Lone Star Outpost, there’s nothing I can do for the Klingons. They’re just too far away. (And it’s their fault for building their station so far from the other outposts, anyway.)
However, my forces can reach Dawson’s Planet within approximately 36 hours, at Warp 9.6. (The Crusader can get there in under 24 hours at Warp 9.9.) I made a committment to help defend Dawson’s Planet from the Driians should there be renewed hostilities. And despite the problems, I’m going to follow through on that pledge.
I send the Crusader, the Victory, and the Marathon to head towards Dawson’s Planet at their maximum speed. Crusader is the fastest and will get there in 24 hours (0430 on Day 6). Victory was damaged during the battle at the BDS and can only make Warp 9, so they’ll take about 1 day, 21 hours to reach Dawson’s. The Marathon can max out at Warp 9.6 and will arrive in 36 hours.
I take a risk by stringing out my forces like this, but I want to have at least one ship ready to face the Driians if and when they arrive at Dawson’s. Of course, having one ship, even a Sovereign-class explorer, facing a full Driian task force alone is a big gamble. Let’s hope it pays off.
On a related note, I order all Federation ships in the sector to standing Yellow Alert. At this point, I’ve effectively opened hostilities with the Driian Empire, and a response is expected at any time. I want everyone ready.
The one flaw I see in my plan: I’m banking on the prediction that the Driians are overextending their forces, based on the (probably outdated) intelligence reports that they have approximately 15 Noynacs. They’ve already brought out a few new Konyacs... what else do they have in store?
0421 hours: The looting of the mining rig is interrupted when a BoP decloaks, swoops past the base, drops shields for a moment and then tries to recloak. The Driians fire back, though, and the BoP is wounded. Another decloaks, slices up a Driian ship, drops shields and then cloaks, while the first one continues the fight. Driians start to withdraw. Depending on your response, they will have 3 to 6 surviving ships as they pull out of the asteroid field and head for Driian space. Vargh yells in frustration: his Vor’cha is still at (F3), heading for home, and its chances of intercepting the Driians are slim. He still won’t tell where his other BoP is, except that neither of those two was it. And speaking of those, the wounded BoP elects to blow up in battle (defending the mining base) rather than surrender either to you or to Vargh. It’s posthumously ID’d as the one that went AWOL from the wargames.
Okay, so two Klingon Birds-of-Prey briefly decloak around the mining outpost, and one is hit by the mine’s native defenses, and is taken out by the IKS L’taka (the wreck is ID’d as the Qel, Ren’Qo’s BoP from the war games). The other BoP escapes after re-cloaking.
I’m left totally in the dark here — it appears that Klingon ships just raided a Klingon installation! Finally, we have some apparent proof that Ren’Qo is up to some monkey business, but just what the frell is he up to?
0500 hours: The Driians issue at least three different statements. Your base at Ulia receives an elaborate and pompous recording saying that superior Driian forces are about to evict Klingons from Drii-ûzak, a star that rightfully belongs to Driians and was not yet occupied by these vile wrinkleheads when the Driians in good faith agreed to the terms of a Federation presence. The fight is purely between Driia and the said scum, and the Feds are instructed to stand aside.
I’m assuming that Drii-ûzak is the Lone Star Garrison, given that that’s where Ren’Qo’s got his forces stationed. I’m also going to assume that the Driians at this point group the Federation in with the Klingons, given that we jointly defended the BDS from them a while ago.
Fortunately, this means that Dawson’s Planet is not under immediate attack. That’ll give my ships time to reach there — although they may have to be moved somewhere else on short notice, should the Driians attack the BDS again, or even Ulia.
The Driian High Command also sends a curt message saying that a justified punitive measure was recently taken against the Klingons at BDS, and that the Starfleet counterreaction was wholly inappropriate and may be avenged in kind in the near future.
I’m going to assume that they just send a pissed-off message that the Driian Empire has been attacked by the Federation. Although I could also say that they just go for broke and declare war.
Finally, the head of the Driian mob at Dawson’s enthusiastically declares that the days of the Federation there are over. He’s dragged away by Romulans in the middle of his speech, though.
Some times, you’ve just gotta love those Romulans...
The good news is, that the Romulans seem to be on our side. If they drag off a Driian agitator during an anti-Federation speech, that’s a big point in their favor. It’s just too bad that their Warbird disappeared a couple of days ago... I could really use an extra ship to help protect Dawson, should those big Konyacs decide to move on.
0600 hours: The long dark teatime of the soul. Vargh confides in you over a goblet of his favorite tea (and when he offers some to you, it’s probably more an honest mistake than an assassination attempt). He thinks that somehow Ren’Qo has gotten wind of what Vargh’s engineers found out a few weeks before: several of the asteroid mines have turned up lodes of a mineral that has powerful fusion-fouling effects. Not quite trilithium in its potency, but still good enough to build poor man’s starkillers out of. And a starkiller is what Ren’Qo needs if he hopes to pull off his personal vendetta against the Driians. Vargh has been purifying the material in secrecy, but ten days ago, a quantity went missing. Too late, Vargh realized it had been placed aboard the Rokash, and sent out a BoP to intercept the transport. An agent of Ren’Qo’s must have been aboard, though, as the transport exploded right after being stopped for inspection. Neither the BoP nor the better equipped Vor’cha found any traces of starkiller dust in the wreckage. So Vargh still lacked proof.
Oh great... the Klingons are dealing with superweapons!?! At least Vargh has finally decided to come clean...
Now I know what that raid a couple of hours ago was all about. If Ren’Qo is planning to totally wipe out the Driian Empire, we’ve got a serious problem on our hands. No matter how much I hate the Driians, one thing I would not want to do is allow a single Driian planet get wiped out. Especially now that we’re getting close to open warfare.
I think I should transmit a good-faith warning to the Driians, to let them know that a cloaked Klingon ship might be making a run towards one of their stars some time soon.
The down side of that, though, is that that would alert the Driians that there’s a superweapon ripe for the pickings at the BDS. That would cause all kinds of trouble, because the Driians would LOVE to get their hands on a weapon like that.
Um... here’s an even bigger question. If the Driians have been mining from the BDS in the past (before I blockaded the system), then what’s to say that the Driians don’t have some of this stuff for themselves? Crap, that is not a pleasant thought...
All ships near Ulia are immediately ordered to begin active patrols of the system, including Starfleet ships, local defense cruisers, and any civilian vessels nearby. This is a crisis of major proportions. Until I can confirm that the Driians do not have this weapon, I can’t risk letting my guard down.
Let’s just hope they don’t try this on Dawson, because there’s nothing I can do there...
Vargh isn’t sure Ren’Qo arranged for the mining strikes or sabotage, either — he is simply obsessed, not completely devoid of honor, as far as Vargh knows. And the Driian raid has given him more to think about. The raided rig had a goodly 4,500 kilograms of purified starkiller dust in store, enough to make two or three stars flare so intensely that their planets are completely sterilized. Now not only Ren’Qo’s forces but the Driians as well may have their share of that material, which (Vargh curses) was guarded strongly enough to make it attractive for looting, but clearly not strongly enough to stop the said looting. And even a (Vargh spits) Driian might figure out how to use it, given enough time.
Ren’Qo seems to be obsessed with the Driians and with Vargh. Maybe he’s concocted a plan that lets him mess with Vargh’s setup and get even with the Driians at the same time.
Of course I can’t prove it, but I’m fairly certain that the strikes were incited, given this horrible timing and the fact that there were several UFP citizens killed. Not to mention that the mines had that starkiller dust in there.
If the strikes were incited, that means it had to have been outsiders. I can certainly rule out Driians, the Federation, and the Romulans... and all that leaves is Ren’Qo. The process of elimination.
I’m going to go ahead and transmit that good-faith warning to the Driians. Let them know that a renegade Klingon may be attempting to destroy one or more of their solar systems. I’ll make it clear that although we have been adversaries, I do not condone any use of weapons of mass destruction. (With the obvious subtext that if the Driians use the weapon, I’ll come down on them like a ton of bricks.)
Hopefully Vargh can find a way to get aboard the mining station and find out just how much (if any) of the starkiller dust was taken.
I consider sending out ships to try to chase down Ren’Qo’s BoP, and after consulting with General Vargh, we conclude that we have to try to stop Ren’Qo. Of course Starfleet stands firmly against genocide, and Vargh believes that there is no honor in destroying entire solar systems merely to get revenge. So I send out the Cerberus to head towards Driian space at its maximum speed, and Ren’Qo diverts his Vor’cha (which was returning to the Black Dwarf System) towards Driian space as well. It’s a 10.7 ly journey to the nearest Driian system, and both ships can make the trip in two days at Warp 9.6.
0700 hours: The Lone Star garrison reports that General Ren’Qo is currently unavailable for chit-chat, as a major battle may ensue and only a single Klingon cruiser is available for his defence. Vargh now reveals that his BoP which tried to inspect the Rokash is currently under cloak at Lone Star, sent there in hopes of ambushing Ren’Qo’s next shipment of starkiller dust. It might join the battle on the side of the Empire, as long as Ren’Qo is on that side as well.
1000 hours: The low-end ETA for the Driian force at Lone Star or Dawson’s.
I’m going to take the average here and say that the Driians make their attack at 1500 hours. But there’s no news, since I don’t have ships anywhere in the vicinity.
The big question is, just how many ships Ren’Qo has. He says he has one cruiser, but he should have two other Birds-of-Prey, too. If one was lurking around the vicinity of the Rokash, and the other was in war games with the Majestic several days ago.... where are they now?
Um... I just remembered that Vargh said he had his BoP stationed near Lone Star. I’m going to want some news from him on the battle, and quickly. Because no news is bad news. (Of course, any news can be bad news, too...)
2000 hours: The high-end ETA for the Driian force at Lone Star or Dawson’s. Also a likely low-end ETA for Ren’Qo’s reinforcements to reach him.
Hmm... unless the Driian forces were far behind schedule, I’d guess that Ren’Qo’s outpost was wiped out. Who knows what happened to the cruiser (and Ren’Qo himself, for that matter) — did they fight valiantly to defend the outpost? Or did they just sneak off into the night?
Current Fleet Deployment, Revision 10
0430 hours: The Crusader arrives at Dawson’s Planet.
0700 hours: The Majestic arrives at the Black Dwarf System.
0800 hours: The morning briefing gives you news that in other circumstances might be considered good. Your codebreakers have Vargh’s code open for you if you wish. The miners have shut down their jammers and are dismantling their barricades, although they are still wary of what might follow. The Driian ore convoy has stalled at the near edge of (F4) when the engines of one of the transports have failed from the overdrive strain: the escorting Noynacs have fled, while the remaining transports try to tow their driveless sister and stubbornly resist any attempts at semi-bloodless boarding.
Heh, now we get a chance to go over Vargh’s messages, after he’s already told us (almost?) everything. I’d have my officers review the information anyway, just to be on the safe side, but I don’t expect anything.
I’m going to let the striking workers handle themselves for the moment — it seems that they’re willing to cooperate now. Which is odd, given that they were actively fighting the Klingons only a couple of days ago, but now, after very little action on my part, end up relaxing their guard.
Screw the Driians. If I went after their transports, it’d make me look a lot more aggressive, when I want it to appear that the Driians are the nasty ones in this sector. My only worry is just what those fleeing Noynacs are going to do now.
Then the bad news come in. Two more heavy cruisers or battlecruisers of Driian origin (apparently some sort of improved Konyac design — these are heavy enough for you to rename your Excelsiors the Whitney Houston class) have been witnessed afoot. They have penetrated to (E5) under their pseudo-cloaks, perhaps trying to join the ships fleeing from the convoy, or the ones running away with their Klingon loot. The Driians seem to have launched them as a panic response to the unexpected developments at the BDS — the ships seem only half completed, perhaps amounting to one Excelsior in combined combat strength. Or then it’s a devious Driian plot.
Hoo-boy. It seems that the Driians really do have more big guns. In fact... I can’t believe that the Driians would go for broke and send all of their ships on the offensive. I’ve accounted for twelve of the supposed fifteen Noynacs that the Driians have. There must be more ships on defensive duty inside the Empire. Which means that I’m starting to get seriously outnumbered in this sector.
Coincidentally, the Cerberus and the Qu’vat are out that way. Perhaps they can try to open a dialogue with the Driian fleet?
I’m going to have to assume that the Driians rebuff all attempts at communication. At this point I have to make a choice... if we keep going towards Driia, and if the Driian fleet continues to advance, I’m going to be at a serious disadvantage should they strike either Ulia or the BDS. But abandoning the chase means that a Driian system or three is going to get vaporized. If that happens... we’d all be in deep doo-doo.
Vargh decides to order his ship back to the Black Dwarf System. He instructs the Qu’vat to shadow the Driian fleet for part of the way, and get information on just how big the Driian fleet is.
However, I instruct the Cerberus to keep going. The Black Dwarf System pales in importance to the prospect of allowing an entire solar system to get wiped out. I have to at least try to stop Ren’Qo. I tell the Cerberus to head for the nearest Driian world (bottom right grey circle on the map, grid B4/B5). My guess is Ren’Qo will go there first.
You have received no news from the battle at Lone Star (unless you had a ship of your own present there, that is). Although it seems unlikely that even victorious Driians would reach Dawson’s from Lone Star until, say, 2200 hours, the threat still hangs over that planet. And another semi-cloaked scoutship was briefly observed at (E9), perhaps paving way for an attack at Ulia.
This is starting to worry me a bit... I’ve left Ulia wide open, it seems. Although I’ve got enough defenses to protect the planet from most possible combinations of Noynacs, now that the Driians have trotted out their four heavy cruisers, I’m starting to get seriously outnumbered.
The USS Sentinel is ordered to fall back to Ulia, to join the planetary defense. ETA is 1 day, 8 hours (1600 hours on Day 7).
1600 hours: You hear from the Fed miners at the rebelling rigs. Although nothing is official yet, it seems the strike is over. Vargh’s troops have arrested several Klingon miners; curiously, many of those were seemingly quiet and orderly workers, not agitators or obvious strike leaders. You can only hope Vargh is targeting the saboteurs and agents aboard and not just striking out at random.
Oddly enough, I think Vargh’s on the right track here. Klingons who aren’t making noise are very suspicious...
Also, by this time you may have learned the hard way that the Driian ore transport distress was a trick. If your ship drops shields for transporter use too close to the convoy, the ore carrier under tow blows up on your face. Expect even a heavy ship to suffer some damage, and a light one to lose either weapons, shields or warp for a dozen hours at least. The rest of the transports scatter and try to run for Driian space.
Heh, good thing I didn’t try this... bastard Driians.
1630 hours: The Marathon arrives at Dawson’s Planet.
2000 hours: The two Konyacs first seen at (E5) have come to join the various Noynacs, which appear to be doubling back and converging at (F4). Together, these ships might cause problems even for a large number of your ships. Apparently, the Driians can improvise tactics like this on the run.
Shit. I am SO screwed... There’s two Konyac-class heavy cruisers and six Noynac-class attack cruisers, pissed off and ready to hit us hard.
Wherever this Driian force strikes, there’s going to be massive damage. The likely targets are either Ulia or the Black Dwarf System.
If the Driians attack Ulia, it’ll be a public relations disaster for me. I’ll have effectively failed to protect a Federation member from the Driians, never mind my promises to defend the other systems. I ended up concentrating my forces far to the south (and sent my Sovereign charging off towards Dawson’s Planet when it would be better used in defending Ulia). The only consolation is that the combined ships and the planetary defense grid can probably keep the Driians from launching an outright invasion, but the planet could sustain some pretty heavy damage.
However, the situation is not bleak, and success is certainly possible, given that there are four Starfleet ships available for defense, plus the planetary defense grid and any local defense cruisers.
If the Driians attack the Black Dwarf System, they’re likely to capture it, and possibly even destroy the Klingon battle station, too. The only thing that might help out there is if the Romulans decide to chip in. Their four scoutships together probably equal around two Noynacs.
I’m starting to regret ordering the Cerberus to continue heading towards the Driian systems. Apparently, the Driians are not heeding my warnings. But it’s really too late to have them turn back now... and I’m willing to risk a bit of damage to try to save a few star systems. There are bigger stakes now.
The big question is... how will the Driians react to a lone Starfleet ship trying to intrude on their space in the middle of this conflict?
Current Fleet Deployment, Revision 11
2300 hours: Unless you actively helped at Lone Star, this is when the remaining Driian fleet hits Dawson’s. The Klingons are in hot pursuit with one cruiser and two BoPs, but the two Noynacs and one Konyac are still in a condition to devastate the planet. Ren’Qo shouts revenge: his garrison has been bombarded, his two backup cruisers are crippled, and he himself is prepared to ram the Konyac when he catches up. Which will probably happen on low Dawsonian orbit, with the associated fireworks.
Okay, so the Klingons have one cruiser and two BoP’s, and managed to take out two of the Driian ships. That evens things up again, to the point where it’s basically an even match: 1 Konyac and 2 Noynacs versus 1 Sovereign and 1 Defiant. The resulting battle can turn out either way... but if I lose, I’m going to have a big hole in my fleet.
2400 hours: The Victory arrives at Dawson’s Planet. This turns the tide of the battle — the two sides were fairly evenly matched before this, but Victory swoops in with a massive strafing run against the Konyac and destroys one of the Noynacs. The Driians withdraw, but I press the attack, as I have no intention of letting the Driians get away with functional heavy cruisers.
If Ren’Qo wants to ram the Konyac when he catches up... that’s fine by me. If it isn’t reduced to wreckage by the time I catch up.
Projections for Day 7
0600 hours: The Cerberus is projected to arrive at the Driian planet.
0800 hours: Vargh’s Vor’cha returns to the Black Dwarf System.
1000 hours: The low-end ETA for Ren’Qo’s BoP at the nearest Driian worlds. In theory, the starkiller dust could be transformed into a weapon even onboard the BoP.
1600 hours: The Sentinel arrives at Ulia.
2400 hours: The low-end ETA for Ren’Qo’s BoP at Lone Star. Or, if you prefer a less optimistic view of the universe, by this time the starkiller could also have reached Ulia (both in the 9x10 and 10x10 maps).
I doubt that Ren’Qo would take the time to head back towards Lone Star, given that there’s nothing there but a wrecked station. And there’s no reason for him to head towards Ulia... I hope. I’ve already got the ships there on alert, though, so I’m probably covered on that front anyway.
Damn, what a nightmare... a renegade cloaked Bird-of-Prey on the loose with enough starkiller dust to potentially wipe out the entire Driian race... and I have absolutely no idea which star he’ll choose. It’s likely that he knows my ship is there to catch him, so he might even be avoiding me and attacking another system first.
The Driians aren’t likely to have the starkiller dust, since I chased them away from the BDS. If they got the dust from a previous mining expedition, they’d have used it by now.
Question Four, Part Three
Guest Lecture by Timo
Once more unto the breach, my friends. It will be a long day.
0200 hours: As the Driian main fleet is now observed in the middle of (G4), it seems apparent that the BDS is their main target. The mining installations go to red alert, but they do not stand much of a chance against starship attacks. It’s up to you to handle the Driians.
I’ve got four starships located at the BDS: the Majestic, the Vigilant, the Qu’vat, and the L’taka. (Plus the mostly-intact minefield which I deployed several days ago along the outer perimeter of the system.) There’s also the Klingon battlestation in the system, which can certainly hold its own against an attack. And finally, there are four Romulan scoutships which are known to operate in the area, in their portion of the BDS. However, their cooperation is not certain at the moment.
The Driians have two half-completed Konyacs and six Noynacs. My forces are effectively outnumbered two to one. Not very comfortable odds. However, there is fortunately very little danger to my positions, as the Klingon mining outposts are located deep within the asteroid fields and are therefore difficult to reach. My forces can perform a holding action — all they need to do to win is keep the Driians at arm’s length. By employing roving maneuver tactics and fast strafing runs, I can attempt to inflict serious damage on the Driian ships while preserving my own assets.
Just to be on the safe side, though, I’m going to send the Crusader back to the BDS as backup. They likely won’t get there in time; the Crusader’s been operating its engines at full strength under battle conditions for several days straight, and her maximum speed has been reduced to Warp 9.7. Projected ETA at the BDS: 30 hours, or 0800 on Day 8.
At Dawson’s, Ren’Qo is chasing the remaining fleeing Noynac aboard his cruiser. The once-proud Konyac floats gutted on low orbit, raining small debris and making the locals go “Oooh! Aaah!” as the fireworks light up the Dawson sky. The Romulans have taken away all remaining Driians on the planet.
Well, that’s taken care of. Glad to provide some entertainment for the Dawsonites. Who says that technology is a bad thing?
Just to be on the safe side, I instruct the Crusader to ensure that the Konyac is in a stable orbit and devoid of life signs before heading for the BDS.
However, I’m keeping my two Defiants in the area, mainly because Ren’Qo is still on the loose. I want to track him down. Help him take out that last Noynac if necessary, but after that, inform him that we know all about his plans. I hold no illusions that I can force Ren’Qo to surrender, but I want to take him alive if possible. At this point, I can probably prove that he’s been conspiring to commit genocide, and he probably deliberately ordered his cruiser to ram the Majestic during those war games back on Day 1. I want his head. (No, not literally.)
I want to know where Vargh’s second BoP is right now, too. Last I heard, it was lurking near the Lone Star Outpost, but that was before the Driians made short work of it. I’m assuming that it’s tailing Ren’Qo... but why hasn’t it shown itself?
0400 hours: The initial Driian failure to devastate Dawson’s Planet seems to have put a spin to their plans. At (D4) you see the now-familiar flicker of half-cloaks: a horde of ships, apparently at least a dozen transports of some sort, is seen turning away from a Dawsonly course and heading towards (E5) instead. It seems this fleet is unescorted.
Good — the Driians were getting overconfident. They sent out a bunch of transports to move into Dawson again... but they didn’t take it. Excellent.
I guess that means that these transports should be turning towards the Black Dwarf System now... assuming the Driians intend to conquer that place, too. If I had a ship available, I might send one to go scare them off. Not actually take offensive action, but to look like I’m preparing to blow them out of the sky, and make them turn back.
However, I don’t have the ships to spare at the moment... but it does give me some insight as to what the Driians plan to do at the BDS. If they want to annex the territory, I can make some plans to stop them. It seems that my holding plan is probably the best — delay them long enough, and whittle down their forces to the point where it becomes impossible for them to take the system.
0600 hours: The Cerberus is projected to arrive at the nearest Driian planet. It begins performing long-range sensor sweeps, particularly looking for telltale signs of a cloaked ship. The captain is instructed to keep a close eye on the Driians, and make sure that local defenses do not engage. Should the Driians offer resistance, they are to take no offensive action, and to remain at a safe distance. However, they are not to break off the search unless necessary to protect the ship. I rely on the captain’s discretion in this case.
0800 hours: Vargh’s Vor’cha returns to the Black Dwarf System.
0800 hours: Your engineers have finished going through the wreckage of the Konyac at Dawson orbit, and have the specs of the sensor shield, a modification of their combat shields. It appears to be a curious mix of off-the-shelf Driian components and advanced know-how. What amazes your analysts is that the device was apparently built to malfunction — the telltale flicker could easily be avoided if not for a subcomponent that does nothing but disrupt the functioning from time to time.
What the frell? They built a cloaking device that was designed to give their ships away?
For some reason, I suspect Romulan involvement. The cloaking device is their trademark, after all. But the twist is... they might have set the Driians up. However, I have no real proof of Romulan involvement, and the Romulans have remained quiet so far, so I’m not going to worry about that for the moment.
No wonder the assault transports as (D4) lacked escort: the Driians must be running short of ships. Having learned so much of the signature of the Driian sensor shield, you now easily observe two Noynacs at (E8), and one more plus the earlier seen scout at (E9). Curiously, none of these three Noynacs seem to have exhibited any cloak flicker...
Curiouser and curiouser... now some of the ships don’t have the cloak-flicker? This makes no sense at all. Perhaps the Driians figured out that some component was screwing up their cloak? But then, why don’t all the ships correct that feature?
But if the Driians are running short of ships, that’s good news for me. Mostly. That means that they’re throwing all their forces against me, and I can pretty much handle what’s on my plate at the moment.
The down side of that is that there are few if any ships available to defend the Driian systems — and few defenses to try to intercept Ren’Qo’s Bird-of-Prey.
Note: I’ve observed 23 Noynacs so far, and 4 Konyacs. (Compare that to intelligence reports from just after I assumed command of the sector, which indicated only 15 Noyncas.) Just as I suspected earlier, the Driians were busy beefing up their war fleet. Fortunately, their industrial base wasn’t as advanced as I believed, or there could have been a lot more ships.
1300 hours: The Driian main fleet hits BDS defences. The smaller cruisers make use of the cover of the asteroids, while the big battlewagons concentrate their fire on your largest vessel, maintaining their distance from the asteroids and possible minefields.
Shit. If the Driians make it through my minefield, I’ve really only got one ship that can follow them, and that’s Vargh’s BoP. All of the others are just too big.
My heavier ships account for one Noynac before they make it past my lines, and the minefield takes out two more. But I’ve still got three Noynacs loose in the asteroid field. I have no choice but to send the BoP in alone to try to chase them away from the mining outposts. (All miners should have evacuated to more secure regions inside the mines or the outposts, so they may be safe there from Driian fire.)
The Konyacs are much less successful. As suspected based on long-range scans, the ships were launched half-finished and without a complete weapons complement. My three heavy starships (Akira, Steamrunner, and Vor’cha) can make short work of them. The two hulks are left burning on the outskirts of the asteroid field.
Simultaneously, the three Noynacs and the scoutship move in on your ships at Ulia, ignoring the starbase entirely. You find that they have a reason to do so when the first volley from the starbase’s big type 11 arrays immediately loses focus. Collapsing nadion cascades burn out the emitter crystals. Internal fires erupt at the phaser installations. Your ships have to fight on their own for a while.
I must credit the Driians for the surprises they’ve managed to hand me so far. Sabotaging the planetary defenses is a very sneaky trick. But though it’s a serious security concern, I don’t believe that it will become a major handicap for my defenses.
The Saratoga is still warp-incapable, but other than that, the Driians are still outnumbered and outgunned. I have no doubt that the defenses will hold. The only trick is to keep the fight far enough away from Ulia to prevent any damage to the planet.
Very strange, though — the Driians have always confronted me head-on so far... but this is the first time that they’ve tried to sabotage my forces. It doesn’t match their standard operations plan. Is there a Driian operative that somehow managed to get aboard my starbase? Or even worse, a Ulian who sympathizes with the Driians? (A Federation officer resorting to sabotage is pretty much out of the question, of course.)
Current Fleet Deployment, Revision 13
1330 hours: General Ren’Qo beams down to your base at Dawson’s, snarling that his cruiser’s life support is failing. He is angry about having been deceived of a glorious death when you defeated the Driian attack without a need for his sacrifice. He now sees no way to redeem his past dishonor against Vargh and the Empire. So this is endgame time. Ren’Qo admits to planning genocide against the Driians, by flare-bombing the star system at (B4/B5) border where he says Driian shipyards are churning out new light and medium cruisers for the despicable enemy. The general also reveals that he uncovered several Romulan agents in Vargh’s forces a long time ago. When arriving at Sector Beta, he stooped to purchasing their services when he needed to create a diversion at the BDS. A secret recording of this dishonorable transaction is (at least partial) proof that Romulan agents blew up the Klingon mining rig. Ren’Qo hands over a list of the remaining agents to your officers, then finishes spilling his guts - with his mek’leth.
The Romulans! I always knew they were without honor! Now they have proven it!!! — Worf
It seems that I’ve made a serious error here, in assuming that the Romulans were generally a cooperative ally — given our past alliance during the Dominion War. Instead they’re trying to take over the entire sector for themselves. This little tidbit will certainly be passed on to Starfleet Command and the Federation Council, for immediate consideration.
However, I’ve still got to deal with the immediate fallout. If the Romulans are angling to take the BDS for themselves, they’re using the Driians as intermediaries to get our forces out of the way... oh, jeez. The Driian cloaking devices were provided by the Romulans!!! But... that also explains why the cloaks were only half effective: the Romulans were double-crossing the Driians. Damn, what a setup!
It’s funny, I thought to myself earlier, that this espionage and sneaking around was worthy of a Romulan’s treachery... it seems I was more correct than I knew...
Now that I know that there are Romulan agents on Vargh’s staff, it makes sense that they engineered the mining strikes to throw off our forces, and disrupt operations when the Driians launched their offensive. Ren’Qo was just an added bonus, to send our ships scurrying around like targs with their heads cut off. The sudden Driian offensive also makes sense... if the Romulans supplied those special cloaking devices, the Driians would believe themselves nearly invincible and able to move about the sector at will, attacking whichever targets they pleased.
It seems the Romulans made an error in sabotaging those cloaks, though. That gave me a little advantage back, in that I could anticipate where the Driians were heading, and prepare my forces accordingly. If I wasn’t able to see where the Driians were going, then it’s likely that Dawson would have been devastated, and I might have been caught with a lot fewer ships to defend either Ulia or the BDS.
Among the names are some of Vargh’s closest assistants in the BDS mining project. More to your interest are the human names, including two key people in charge of Ulian defences!
Humans working for the Romulans... ho boy, what a big pile of drenn this is. I IMMEDIATELY forward all information to Vargh on his personal and top-priority comm channel, and to my people at Ulia, with orders to track down these spies and have them detained ASAP.
Fortunately, my forces at Ulia have made short work of the three Noynacs. The Furies took serious damage in the attack, but all other ships are fully operational. No damage has been reported on Ulia.
1500 hours: If the battle at BDS looks hopeless for your forces, be happy that it is now over. If only one of your major ships remains intact, the Romulans will make their move, certain of not leaving witnesses. There isn’t much you can do against a warbird, nor will the Klingon main base stand against a simultaneous attack by four scouts decloaking at point-blank range now that the starship defences are engaged elsewhere. Their dominance of the region is now unchallenged — the seemingly victorious Driians will find the shields of their ships malfunctioning at a most inopportune moment and will fall prey to the warbird.
However, if your forces appear victorious, the cowardly Romulan veruul will simply slither away. Too bad that their warbird hits a Klingon mine on the way out, revealing its presence to you — Can you know whether they know that you know? Do you avoid confronting this vessel for now, or do you grasp the opportunity?
This is actually a mixed bag. I’ve taken care of the Konyacs on the outer perimeter... but the Majestic has taken major damage (being already partially crippled thanks to Ren’Qo’s monkey business). The crew abandons ship. And there are still the three Noynacs loose on the interior.
The L’taka followed the Driians into the asteroid field, and managed to take one enemy ship out and damage another before being herself destroyed... but the two remaining Driian ships have free reign inside the asteroid field now. The two Klingon mining outposts take heavy damage from Driian fire.
I’m going to have to take a risk here and order the Vigilant (Steamrunner-class) into the asteroid field to chase down the Driians. The ship is relatively small — length is 244 meters — but it’s not quite on par with a Defiant or a BoP. They manage to get in and pursue the two Noynacs. However, one Klingon mining outpost is totally destroyed before the previously damaged Noynac is finally taken out, and the last remaining ship chooses to retreat.
When the Romulan ship is exposed, I don’t have any ships in range... but I have already informed General Vargh of the situation. And he’s not happy that those Romulan petaQs have been messing with his mining operations. The Vor’cha pursues the the Warbird for a short time, and targets it with a spread of torpedoes. However, the Warbird escapes unharmed, and Vargh is left to stew in his own juices for a while.
Vargh is ready to take his Vor’cha over to the Romulan sector of the BDS and “interfere” with their mining operations a bit... but I manage to pursuade him to hold back — starting a war with the Romulans would be suicidal at this point. He grudgingly agrees.
1800 hours: A battle erupts at (C4), as feeble Driian forces (two low-warp corvettes) engage an invisible opponent. A BoP briefly decloaks and devastates the corvettes; if you had a ship in the vicinity, you now have a fix on the Klingon ship’s position. A single Driian warship, between Noynac and Konyac in size, blasts out from the star system at the (B4/B5) border towards the Klingons. Again, this vessel appears only partially completed — it seems more and more likely that the Driians have neglected defence when going for their ambitious two- or three-front offensive.
The Cerberus (Akira-class) is in the vicinity, in grid C5. It’s obvious that the Driians have been caught with their shorts down... but not by much. If I hadn’t had to chase after Ren’Qo, the Driian systems would probably have been safe from Starfleet, at least for the short term. (After the dust clears, and depending on how many Driian and Starfleet ships are left, would be a different story.)
This Truoc-class frigate is not likely to have much of a chance against Ren’Qo’s BoP, if the performance of the other half-finished ships are any indication. I’d instruct the Cerberus captain to attempt to establish communications with the Driian ship, and inform them that they’re willing to cooperate to capture or destroy the Klingon BoP... and that they will leave peacefully as soon as the BoP is confirmed to be no longer a threat. If the Driians don’t respond, then the Cerberus is to continue the search independently, and avoid a confrontation with the Driians.
Current Fleet Deployment, Revision 14
At the same time, a Driian agitator wanders into Dawson City Hall, bloodied and exhausted. She rants about treason and betrayal and says that her superiors must be mad to persist with the attacks now that Romulan support has been withdrawn. Romulan police forces move into the city, saying they are looking for an escaped criminal, but Dawsonites lock the doors of the City Hall. A rather one-sided firefight ensues, but the Mayor has called for help, from you and the Klingons.
I’ve still got two Defiants in orbit, and there’s Ren’Qo’s cruiser and two BoP’s nearby. Now that Ren’Qo is dead, I’m assuming that his remaining ships are going to be a lot more cooperative.
The Marathon and the Victory beam down security officers, as many as possible while leaving the ship reasonably crewed. Their orders are to subdue the Romulan police force using whatever means are necessary. I ask Ren’Qo’s ships to provide troops as well.
1900 hours: The convoy of assault transports is now observed at (E6), clearly heading for Ulia. If any Driians escaped from your forces or the Romulan ambush at BDS, they will also head for Ulia now — but broadcasting messages of friendship and truce. Even if you choose to believe them, you don’t know if the assault transports will. The surviving Noynacs at Ulia certainly will not, and will continue to pound on your defences.
I wonder if the Noynacs at Ulia were actually under Romulan control... that would explain why they didn’t have the cloak-flicker, and I already know that the Romulans sabotaged my planetary defenses. I’ll just instruct my engineering teams to inspect the wreckage of the three ships...
There’s a single Noynac that escaped the BDS, and is heading towards Ulia. I’m tempted to order my ships to blow it out of the sky on sight, but at this point, any dialogue with the Driians would be a welcome development. I’m going to make sure they cooperate — that means no active weapons on that ship, and keep it away from Ulia itself until I can ensure that their offer is genuine.
I wonder what the assault transports are planning to do at Ulia, though... Those ships will be subject to inspection upon arrival at Ulia, or they will not be welcome. I’ve got enough ships still operational to keep Ulia safe.
2000 hours: Now or never: the Klingons will flare-bomb the Driian star at this time, unless either you or the Driians can prevent it. The Romulans still vehemently deny all accusations (regardless of what happened at the BDS — after all, if they killed your ships, you have no proof, and if they didn’t, no harm was done), but the Driian informant tells that the Romulans gave Driians the blueprints for the sensor shields and promised covert aid for the offensive. Apparently, they made sure that no clear winner would emerge...
I’m going to assume that the Driian Truoc-class frigate is willing to cooperate with the Cerberus in the search. At this point we know just where the BoP is heading, and we’ve gotten a good sensor scan of it, so we can make a good effort at tracking it.
Ren’Qo’s BoP is destroyed by the Cerberus approximately 10 AU out from the Driian star. The Truoc-class frigate takes heavy damage in the engagement.
As soon as the BoP is destroyed, the Cerberus captain sends a brief thank-you to the Driian ship, and immediately sets course out of Driian space. ETA to the Black Dwarf System: 2 days (2000 on Day 9).
Once more, apologies to Mark for wrecking up all his toys. The war is probably not over yet, but true to its Blitzkrieg nature, the major forces have been burned out. Do you allow the Driians to finish whatever they are building, or do you strike back when you can?
Let’s see... there are two surviving Noynacs wandering around, plus the flotilla of twelve assault transports. I’m most worried about them — that’s a lot of ships that likely contain a bunch of equipment... but what that equipment is, I can’t tell. I’m going to tell those ships to keep their distance from Ulia, and have my defense ships on standby just in case.
I’m not going to organize a strike against the Driians... at this point, I’m not in a position to give the Driians a smack down. Mainly because I know that the Romulans are itching to get rid of the Federation and the Klingons in the BDS, so I want to maintain enough ships in the BDS to protect those resources. The Crusader should arrive there fairly soon, and so that should be crucial in securing the area, and providing disaster relief.
Hopefully the Driians have learned their lessons on their own, too. Number one, don’t mess with the Federation. Number two, don’t ally with the Romulans. And maybe, if I don’t take the offensive to their worlds, a lasting peace will be more likely. Even more so, given that a Starfleet ship entered Driian space to stop an attempt to destroy a Driian solar system... even though there were still Driian warships launching attacks across the sector. Maybe they’ll realize that Starfleet is “okay.”
I believe that the war is effectively over. The Driians gambled their fleet, and they lost. Now, they’re scrambling to pick up the pieces — hence their sudden peace offer from the surviving ships heading towards Ulia.
0800 hours: The Crusader arrives at the Black Dwarf System.
1400 hours: The Fredrickson arrives at the site of the subspace anomaly which swallowed my transport, grid A8.
When we last left our heroes, there were several Driian ships loose in the sector. One Noynac was fleeing Dawson’s Planet and returned to Driian space. A second Noynac approached Ulia broadcasting messages of peace. This ship was intercepted in the outer reaches of the Ulian system by the Hercules (Defiant-class), and its crew is currently being interrogated at Starbase 647. A convoy of twelve Driian heavy transports was briefly en route to Ulia, but suddenly changed course and returned to Driian space.
I ordered the Cerberus (Akira-class to maintain its position on the border to monitor Driian activities. (You may recall that the Cerberus helped intercept Ren’Qo’s Bird-of-Prey which was attempting to flare-bomb a Driian star. The Cerberus encountered no resistance from Driian defenses during its mission.)
The Fredrickson was successful in freeing my supply freighter from the “Force of Nature” style subspace pothole in grid A8, and the two ships are currently en route to Ulia. The supply freighter is carrying equipment to repair the Saratoga (Intrepid-class), which is currently stranded without warp drive.
The Sentinel (Steamrunner-class) has also been assigned to patrol the Driian border. They’re hanging on a point approximately midway between Driia and Ulia.
The Romulan police force on Dawson’s Planet has been defeated by a contingent of Starfleet and Klingon personnel. Several Romulan officers were killed (mainly by overeager Klingons) but about two dozen prisoners were taken. Unfortunately, it seems that the Romulans got out a distress signal before their command post was taken. There’s been no response from Romulan ships as yet, but there is at least one D’deridex-class Warbird known to be lurking in the vicinity. There are also several dozen Driian prisoners. These people have been kept in confinement by my order, mainly because we’re still officially at war with the Driians. However, it appears that the Driians might be attempting to end the hostilities.
Strangely, there has been no response from the Driian government yet. No communications, no offenses, no nothing. Therefore, I’m holding the Driian prisoners in confinement until something develops.
Two of the three Klingon mining outposts in the Black Dwarf System have been destroyed — one by Romulan sabotage and one by Driian attack. General Vargh is about as pissed-off as a Klingon can get, especially at the “Romulan petaQs.”
The late General Ren’Qo’s remaining ships have disappeared, There are three battlecruisers and two Birds-of-Prey out there, possibly heading towards Driian space. However, neither Vargh nor I have the resources to track them down.
I originally ordered two Prometheus-class heavy frigates and six Defiant-class destroyers. Ha! With the MVAM, I’ve effectively got five ships instead of three! The following ships have arrived at Ulia...
Well, I’ve already effectively consolidated my fleet. I’ve got a good-sized force watching over Ulia, and probably have sufficient forces watching over the BDS. There are two ships safeguarding Federation interests at Dawson’s Planet, too.
Well... Vargh is a borderline incompetent idiot, I think. He sat on the info about the starkiller dust for two weeks or more, and sent his BoPs chasing all across the sector. For his troubles, we’ve lost two mining rigs, along with several Klingon ships — not to mention my own Majestic (Akira-class). Vargh has only one Vor’cha stationed at the BDS right now. Combined with Starfleet forces, though, it’s probably enough.
I’m going to have a different take on this: I’ve arrested the Romulan police force, but the base in the southern hemisphere sent out a distress call.
If the Dawsonites wish to become a Federation protectorate, that’s great. It justifies my presence there now. I can have one of my captains beam down for an impromptu agreement for immediate implementation, and settle the details later on.
However, the Romulans show up with two Warbirds in Dawson orbit. I demand that they remove their garrison, which is an infringement on Dawson territory, especially since the Dawsonites never agreed to accept Romulan “assistance” in the first place. There’s a confrontation — two miniscule Defiant-class destroyers against two massive Warbirds. The Romulans don’t initiate combat, but scans indicate that instead of removing the garrison, they’re fortifying it. There’s not much my two ships can do for now — the Warbirds have them thoroughly outgunned and outmanned.
I order the two ships to hold their position. I considered ordering them back to the BDS, believing that the Romulans could “protect” Dawson’s for the time being and that the question of “ownership” could be sorted out later. But that would effectively concede the whole planet to the Romulans, and that is something I refuse to do.
I order the Starfleet ships to stay in close contact with the Dawsonites, and to take appropriate action should the Romulans cause trouble.
Assholes. This convinces me more than ever that the Romulans should not be allowed to remain in the long term. I’m going to draw up some kind of document establishing the neutrality of the entire BDS, and ram it down everyone’s throats if I have to.
But that’s long-term. Right now, I’ll have to keep everyone out of the Romulan-controlled sector. It’s basically a stand-off — they’re trying to hoard resources, but there’s still enough for the mean time. If and when my engineers figure some way to disable the minefield, we’ll “liberate” the Romulan-controlled sector of the BDS. But until then, I won’t take any action. Aside from complaining. Maybe if I start speechifying like Picard, the Romulans will panic and flee in terror. If I bring up the question of self-determination for asteroids, and that all comets are created equal, maybe they’ll just surrender.
I’m going to say that Ren’Qo’s remaining ships snuck off, and that his second-in-command (I’ll use Timo’s name here, and call her Captain Sa’ral) has taken charge of the fleet. They’re trying to vindicate their deceased General with one final glorious assault.
Screw them. They don’t deserve any help, and it would take a whole day for any ships to get there anyway. Vargh expresses the wish that he could assist, but he doesn’t do anything — determined to make up for his lapses in the past and not abandon his post at the BDS a second time.
One thing seriously worries me — it appears that the Driians have rustled up some more ships. Let’s hope there aren’t too many.
Shit, shit, shit! Bastard Driians, I can’t believe I fell for their peaceful ploys...
I’ve lost the Fredrickson (Excelsior-class) and the Furies (Defiant-class, damaged in a previous battle). The ships I’ve got in orbit aren’t exactly equipped for mass casualty assistance, but fortunately the Grand Canyon (Istanbul-class) has plenty of room for triage, and so on. The starbase coordinates shipping down every last bit of supplies and personnel who can help out here.
It’s funny — the Federation stands for peace, love, and understanding, but every time we try to practice what we preach, someone comes around and kicks us in the stomach.
That’s it. No more pussyfooting around. As soon as I blow this attacking fleet to hell, I’m taking that Tactical Wing and we’re going to lay waste to some Driian territory.
My defensive strategy is going to need to be revised somewhat, but the basic plan is still in effect. I order the Sentinel (Steamrunner-class) to perform some surveillance sweeps of the fleet, and harry them a little. The Pallas Athena (Prometheus-class) and the Firebrand (Defiant-class) are ordered to head out and meet the Driians halfway. Once they meet, they’re to perform delaying actions, with the goal of whittling down the Driian fleet. Given that the Pallas Athena has that cool Multi-Vector Assault Mode, I’ve effectively got five ships on the line. That should be enough to cause some damage. However, there are no extra risks to be taken. I want all ships intact and ready to hold the line at Ulia.
One other ship heads out — the Crusader (Sovereign-class, my flagship) heads out from the BDS towards Ulia at maximum warp. To cover that absence, I instruct the Cerberus to fall back two grid spaces towards the BDS, so it will be available to defend the system if necessary.
If all goes according to plan, I should have seven ships available to defend against the Driians. That’s cutting it close, but considering that I’ve got a Sovereign and a Prometheus on my side, I have high hopes.
I expect that the Pallas Athena and the others can account for one Konyac out of sheer surprise — imagine the Driians’ reactions when they see that ship split into three seperate attackers! They may also account for one or two Noynacs. However, the Driians will have lost the initiative here, and will areadly be on the defensive, even as they’re arriving in Ulian orbit.
Uh-oh — I just remembered a serious problem. The planetary defense shield is currently off-line, thanks to those damn Driians. That means I’m missing a crucial part of the defense.
I’d originally hoped to allow the Driians to penetrate to Ulian orbit, then nail them with fire from the orbiting starbase. But with the planetary shield down, I can’t afford to risk more damage to Ulia. So I’ll compromise: I’ll set up a defensive line in the outer system and run a retreating defense, making the Driians pay for every meter of space they advance. The starbase will serve as my backup, along with the planetary defense fighters as my last resort.
I expect to take some heavy damage here, but I don’t believe I’ll lose many ships. The Defiants and the Pallas Athena can use the Driians’ own swarm tactics against them, and the Crusader is just too big to kill easily. I’ll use the Crusader as the lichpin of my defenses to prevent the main body of the fleet from advancing on Ulia, and the smaller ships can dart in and out as needed.
Dammit, I don’t have time for this! I can see it clearly right now — the Romulans are sneaking off to the BDS to reclaim their territory there, because my heavy cruiser has abandoned the region. Now I’ve got to make a choice — the BDS or the Dawsonites.
I choose the Dawsonites. They’re unofficially a Federation protectorate at this point, and interested in becoming an official UFP territory. I’ve got to make sure that claim sticks. With the Romulans out of the way, maybe I can make some headway in clearing the ground base out.
The down side is that the BDS is left wide open. However, I don’t believe that’ll be a major problem. I’m convinced that the Romulans are not going to attack anyone outright. Therefore, the allied “claims” to the BDS are likely safe — the Romulans are probably just concerned that our miracle-working engineers are close to cracking the minefield.
Current Fleet Deployment, Revision 17
This, gentlemen, is IT. IT will happen now, IT will hit the fan, and you’ll be telling your grandkids about IT once IT is over. Starfleet has asked you to mount an assault on Driian space, using your remaining forces and Admiral Royce’s tactical wing. But first, to bring you up to speed - comment as necessary.
- You’ve taken care of the Driian assault force — assume that your forces managed to kill them all off per your plan. Losses: your two smallest / least powerful ships in the defensive fleet, plus significant damage to your largest ship — she can still fight, but at about half her strength. Surprisingly, you discover that despite the apparent power of the Driian ships, they were not able to use them effectively. Scans of the wreck reveal that they were seriously undermanned and were thus not able to fight effectively. Strategic Ops surmises that this may be due to a lack of veterans following the previous war.
I’ve lost the Saratoga (Intrepid-class) and the Sentinel (Steamrunner-class), and sustained moderate damage to the Crusader (Sovereign-class). But hey, I don’t mind that much. Considering that I was outnumbered there, I think I got off lightly.
“The ships were seriously undermanned and were thus not able to fight effectively” — heh, I should’ve known. Bastard Driians raising a ruckus the past month, and I’ve been shooting down their individual Noynacs like ducks in a pond. They won’t be able to stand against a professional Starfleet task force. We took on the Dominion and kicked their asses... well... sort of... Um, anyway.
- Meanwhile, the Ulians are starting to rebuild. The local government does not blame Starfleet for the disaster, and in fact support the coming offensive action. However, they cannot offer any civilian help or support. Starfleet is dispatching additional relief and medical ships, but no further immediate reinforcements — they’re all on their way already.
- A single, heavily-damaged Bird of Prey emerges from the Driian jamming zone. Immediately, Ren’Qo’s daughter broadcasts on all frequencies that Vargh has betrayed everyone, starting with Ren’Qo’s forces. Citing various Klingon customs, she challenges Vargh to single combat, and that her supporters in the BDS hold him until she can get there. She’s intent on killing him, and seems confident in the ability to do so. Another officer on the BoP will be filling in the reasons behind all this.
Right. Vargh is an incompetent idiot, not a traitor. I don’t know what Sa’ral is up to this time, but I’m not sure I want to let this thing disrupt the sector even further. I just wish the High Council would stop sitting on its hands and send in some more ships and a replacement commander.
- The Driian jamming system goes down, allowing your sensor network to get a look to find out what’s going on (refer to the map above). What is seen is several Romulan ships occupying the Drii-Grak system, and significant damage done in the Drii-Oban system. The Klingon officer reports that their fleet had attacked the two satellite systems around Driia Prime simultaneously, and had taken the Drii-Grak system (the smallest system of the three) with the help of sudden Romulan reinforcements. However, they had discovered a much larger force than they’d anticipated at Drii-Oban, and were defeated there. However, the combined forces managed to take a significant part of the mobile Driian fleet out with them. A large number of damaged Driian ships are being repaired in the drydocks.
Well, some good news at last! Glad to hear that the Romulans have joined the party... I think. This would all be so much easier if we cooperated instead. My only concern is that the long-term resolution could be a lot more messy with the Romulans sitting on Drii-Grak.
The most vital news is that a good portion of the Driian fleet is now in drydock. I think that’ll be the place we hit first. More on that at eleven.
- The Romulans had been running an independent investigation since they knew they may be implicated by the cloaking devices. They found out via their own means that it was Vargh who’d been in secret cahoots with the Driians, and had given them the plans for the old Romulan cloaks and plasma weapons. He wanted to use them to implicate any of the three major powers, as all three had access to that older technology; it was also Vargh that had goaded the Drians in to attcking when they had the ships, but not necessarily the manpower to attack Ulia. The remaining Klingons from Ren’Qo’s fleet have confirmed this.
Let’s see... Ren’Qo’s forces tried to flare-bomb the Drii-Grak star about a month ago. The Romulan forces tried to occupy Dawson’s Planet. The Romulans also have tried to interdict a large portion of the Black Dwarf System. Ren’Qo himself admitted to purchasing the services of Romulan spies in Vargh’s staff. Romulan spies sabotaged the phaser emplacements on the starbase that orbits Ulia.
There’s no way in hell that I’m going to listen to them. I don’t know exactly what’s going on here, but I do know that Vargh’s forces have been fighting alongside mine from the beginning (aside from a couple of disappearances). One of Vargh’s ships was destroyed while fighting under Starfleet orders, not Vargh’s. And where have Ren’Qo’s ships been? Trying to commit genocide, sneaking off to settle a private vendetta, and trying to pitifully assuage Klingon honor in a most dishonorable way.
I see no motive for Vargh here. Why would he arrange for Driians to attack his own mining facilities. The Driians are hated enemies of the Klingon Empire. There’s no reason why he’d be giving them assistance.
I don’t know just what the game is here, but I’m not going to take Sa’ral’s word for it. Ditto for the Romulans.
Heck, that’s probably what all of this is about, anyway — a Romulan attempt to destabilize the sector. They’ve already tried to take the BDS for themselves. They’ve tried to get a foothold on Dawson’s Planet. And they tried to use the Driians to take Ulia out of the picture, too.
Which puts a very disturbing spin on the Romulan occupation of Drii-Grak. Just how far are they going to go... and are they planning to stay in the game for the long term?
The remainder of the sector is rather quiet — word has spread of the approaching Starfleet ships, and everyone seems to be lying low.
Can’t say I blame them. We’re about to open up one hell of a can of whoop-ass here.
I’ve got some combat experience of my own with the Driians here, but I’m going to offer a compromise to Admiral Royce — he takes direct command of the fleet (including native Sector Beta forces) to coordinate our forces in battle, but all planning and tactical strategies are developed jointly, and I have the ultimate say as to the operation’s goals and targets.
Oh, if I only had a 3D holographic display...
My primary objective is to eliminate as many Driian forces as possible, both offensive and defensive. The more ships eliminated in this campaign, the less we’ll have to worry about later. A secondary objective is to demonstrate Starfleet’s determination in protecting this sector from hostile forces. It’s easy to think that Starfleet won’t worry about this small, out-of-the-way region of space, but I’m determined to show that we mean business. Finally, I want to intimidate the Driians. By that I mean, show them once and for all that they don’t want to mess with us. Give them more than just a slap on the wrist, a spanking for attacking our planet. They’re responsible for the deaths of more than ten thousand people — and that’s just the preliminary estimates. They bombed Ulia, they bombed the Black Dwarf System mining outposts, they invaded Dawson’s Planet... this ends now.
I hold no illusions that I can launch a long-term invasion of the Driian planets. Two thousand troops is hardly enough to take on thirty billion Driians. This is going to be a quick-surgical strike. We’re going to cut in, blast our targets. Should the initial engagements result in Federation victory, the forces will remain in the area to attempt to negotiate a Driian surrender. However, if sufficient Driian units remain active, then the task force will effect a strategic withdrawal.
Available ships are already listed at the top of this post. I’ve got 28 combat ships in the sector — that’s plenty to play with.
The Marathon and the Victory are ordered to remain at Dawson’s Planet with the intent of defending the system from any potential Driian incursion. The Vigilant is ordered to leave the BDS and return to Ulia and defend that system alongside the Hercules. The Cerberus is ordered to join the assault force, which is currently at its designated staging area in the binary star system midway between Ulia and Driian territory. The three Miranda-class light cruisers are detached from the Tactical Wing and assigned to defend Ulia. (These ships are old, slow, and due to be decommissioned in less than five years — they’re not going to be very good against Defiant-equivalent Noynacs.) All fighters will be transferred to the two Akira-class cruisers.
And now, on to the good stuff:
Primary Targets: Oban II shipyard facilities, all Konyac-class cruisers
Secondary Targets: Oban I defense network, south polar defense station, free-roaming defense ships in-system, military-industrial facilities on Oban I
The task force will launch from the staging area in the star system designated CY-15 and proceed at fleet maximum speed (Warp 8.6) into Driian space on a direct course for Drii-Oban. Estimated transit time, thirty-six hours. Minimal resistance is anticipated as the fleet enters Driian space, however, I believe that the enemy will attempt to mimic the holding tactics that were first employed by my forces in the defense of Ulia less than a week previously. However, given the numbers of the Federation task force, I do not believe that any Driian response will be sufficient to noticably delay our course. We ARE a twenty-strong fleet, after all. Any squadrons encountered prior to arrival in the Drii-Oban system are likely to be standard groups of three Noynacs, or possibly Truoc-class frigates which were originally encountered by USS Cerberus in question four.
The assault will open with an attack on the south-polar intrasystem defense station by Squadron One. Using long-range probes as decoys, the group will perform a high-warp approach and launch massed volleys of quantum torpedoes against the station with the intent to disable its weapons emplacements. Assuming the initial assault does not neutralize the station, the force will enter close firing range and initiate surgical strikes to eliminate the remaining weapons emplacements.
At the same time, Squadrons Two and Three will launch the assault on the orbital construction facilities at Oban II. Squadron Three and the fighter group will engage the planetary defense ships and orbital defense platforms, while Squadron Two will concentrate on demolishing the warship construction drydocks and fabrication facilities using tri-cobalt devices. The six orbital habitats are to be left strictly alone, provided they do not open fire. If so, starships are permitted to defend themselves, but deadly force is NOT authorized. Civilian casualties in the habitats are to be kept to a minimum.
Should resistance at either location prove greater than anticipated, the forces will adjust positions as necessary, and regroup to launch a second wave of attacks as a combined unit. In either case, after the two targets are neutralized, the entire fleet will move to orbit Oban Prime. Destruction of the orbital defense network is the priority here. Following the removal of the defenses, the fleet heavy cruisers will conduct limited orbital bombardments with the goal of destroying the planet’s military industrial capacity. Attack of civilian targets and civilian industry, however, is under no circumstances authorized. Should the defense network prove too difficult, the fleet will withdraw without completing the destruction of the defenses.
Projected Losses: None (moderate damage to some smaller ships, all heavy cruisers operational)
Estimated Combat Duration: Three hours
Primary Targets: Driia Prime orbital defense station, all Konyac-class cruisers
Secondary Targets: Driia Prime defense network, free-roaming defense ships in-system
Once the objectives at Oban have been achieved, the task force will move on to attack Driia Prime itself. The system is too heavily defended for a strike similar to the one at Oban, therefore we will attempt instead to launch a surgical strike on the Driia Prime orbital station and Driian orbital defenses. The primary goal is to eliminate native defenses and to destroy all Konyac-class cruisers in-system.
By now, it’s likely that word of the attack will have reached Driia Prime. The Driians may attempt to rush some of their forces to reinforce their position at Oban, however, I project that the battle at Oban will be won before any Driian forces can make serious headway towards Oban. Any reinforcements en route to Oban when the task force departs for Driia are expected to reverse course and return to make a stand inside the Driian system, where they can operate within the cover of the system defense stations.
The task force will approach the Driian system on an evasive course, attempting to avoid the kill zones of the system defense stations, while approaching Driia Prime. All squadrons will approach at high warp, and launch a mass volley of fire at the Driian station. Should the Konyacs and Noynacs hold position and wait for us to approach, the task force will hold formation for close approach to the Driia Prime defense station, focusing all fire on the installation in an attempt to knock it out early. Should the defense cruisers advance instead, Squadron Two will break off to engage the enemy and provide cover while the rest of the task force continues to approach the defense station. It is anticipated that the combined fire of fifteen to twenty starships will be sufficient to neutralize the defense station.
Following the elimination of the defense station, the task force will break formation to engage the defense ships and orbital defense network in force. Squadrons Two and Three will concentrate on the Konyac-class cruisers in system along with any other ships that engage us, while Squadron One will begin demolishing the orbital defense network.
After the destruction of the orbital defense network is complete, the task force will transmit to the Driian government a demand to surrender, in order to end the hostilities and prevent further damage. The terms will be as follows:
The immediate cessation of all hostile activities against Starfleet, Klingon, and Romulan forces in this sector.
The Starfleet occupation of the governmental centers on Driia Prime.
The deconstruction of all warship construction facilities and related military industrial centers.
The dismantling of all Driian defense stations in both the Driia and Drii-Oban star systems.
The payment of reparations for damage caused to Ulia and the Black Dwarf System mining outposts.
Starfleet supervision of all above points.
I do not anticipate that the Driians will accept this proposal. I will attempt to reassure the Driians that I am not attempting to conquer their planet, but rather to ensure that they stop their campaign of aggression that has caused so much death and destruction to this sector.
Should the surrender proposal be accepted, I will immediately begin beaming down Marine forces that were carried aboard the two Shelley-class transports. Most of the task force will be deployed to orbit the planet. Only Squadron Two will be detached to return to Drii-Oban to secure that system as well. And at this point, the war should effectively be over.
However, should the surrender proposal be rejected, I will not be in a position to force the issue. I can destroy any of the warships that attempt to engage us, but my fleet is not sufficient to progressively eliminate all of the defense stations in the system, nor do I have the personnel necessary to launch an invasion of a planet populated by 14 billion people. I will instead launch an orbital bombardment, aimed at taking out the industrial capacity of the planet. This will be a larger attack than the one conducted at Drii-Oban — any industrial targets will be acceptable. The aim will be to cripple the planet’s functional capacity and take it out of the war.
Following the orbital bombardment, the fleet will conduct a strategic withdrawal from the system. All ships will retreat at fleet maximum speed to rendezvous at the star system designated AU-33. There, the fleet will conduct field repairs and a strategic assessment of the results of the two engagements, and also make preparations to launch follow-up attacks on Driian targets.
Primary Objective: Maximized number of surviving ships for widespread defense of Ulia, Dawson’s Planet, and the Black Dwarf System.
This will assume that the fleet encounters unexpected resistance in the form of additional operational warships in the Oban System (meaning not all ships in drydock were crippled after all). Losses greater than 40% of the fleet at Drii-Oban will be considered unacceptable.
Assuming that the Driians are incapable of setting an ambush for the fleet and trapping our forces in-system, the fleet will make a strategic withdrawal on an escape vector for close approach to Oban III. Upon closest approach to the planet, a small but strong force (most likely a pair of Defiants or one cruiser and all surviving fighters) will break off from the main fleet, using the planet’s polar magnetic field to prevent direct Driian observation. They will then reverse course and provide covering fire, performing a single strafing run before breaking off and accelerating to rejoin the fleet.
Should the diversionary task force take extreme resistance in the course of their return to fleet (close pursuit), two more ships will break off and reverse course to provide cover fire as the first two ships rejoin the fleet. Fleet elements will continue this reverse-strafe-fade strategy until enemy forces break off.
Assuming successful escape from Driian territory, the remaining ships will split up to bolster the defenses of Federation-controlled territory in the sector, in anticipation of a Driian counterstrike. The task force will be divided proportionally on a 2-2-1 basis to Ulia, Dawson’s Planet, and the Black Dwarf System.
Should the enemy choose to pursue the task force beyond Driian borders, the entire fleet will remain in formation and make for Ulia at best speed. The majority of the reserve forces are stationed here, backed up by the orbital Starbase and the planetary defense shield (both repaired by now, presumably).
If there are too many ships, or they display a surprising ability to outflank us... well, I’d rather not think about Carlson’s Last Stand here, okay? ;-)
I’d recommend that Starfleet send another tactical wing. Given the number of Driian defenses, I’d need at least that many ships to try to take out their defense stations and hold the planet. I’d also need a serious number of troops — a lot more than just two thousand. I’m not an expert on planetary warfare, so I don’t know just how many I’d need. But I’d hope that Starfleet can send enough.
The Klingons... well, if they can send a fleet to help out, that’d be great. But at this point I’ve just about had it with them and their backstabbing, cowardly actions as made by Generals Ren’Qo and Vargh. Any reinforcements would hopefully come with a brand-new General who’s not quite so idiotic.
“Fellow officers... the Federation stands for peaceful coexistence above all else. However, when we find ourselves under attack by an unreasoning foe, it remains our sacred duty to defend our Federation with all of our strength. Today, we will show the Driian Empire that the Federation does not sit back and accept the beatings that have been dealt it. We will show them that we are a force to be reckoned with, that we will not tolerate such blatant aggression.
“However, we must remember that our ultimate goal is peace. Let us not seek to use indiscriminate violence against our targets, but rather a careful and deliberate attack that deprives them of their capability to fight. Needless violence will not serve our purposes here. We are fighting for the future.
“Let’s get to it. Good luck to all of us.”
I’ll critique AKB’s assault plan.
First, I’m impressed by the down-to-the-minute timetable here... that’s a lot more detailed than I would have wanted to get. However, I don’t think that the general strategy for assaulting Drii-Oban is sound. You split your forces into too many small groups, for one thing. Though the Driians may be outnumbered by our forces, their defensive battlestations seriously outgun us. You send just a few squadrons to attack the defense stations in succession, but I would anticipate heavy losses in attacking those, unless the attack were conducted in force. (In other words, a few ships aren’t likely to take care of one of those stations on their own — you’d need half your fleet to take even one of them out without a pitched battle.)
I also question the logic in sending in your runabouts and Peregrines to be massacred like you did — sure, they’re about an even match for the Vyrsacs in-system, and the obvious candidates to take care of them. But if you’re projecting 80% losses or more, that’s unacceptable attrition in my book. If I send in my forces, I expect them to come out alive.
That’s not an encouraging analogy, Mark! Twelve years after the Gulf War, Iraq is still running loose in the Middle East. Granted, they’re not launching open attacks, but they’re still considered a serious threat. And that doesn’t even include the weapons of mass destruction that they’re probably working on. Let’s just hope that the Federation has the stamina to follow this through.
Just to summarize the results of the engagement: Phase One of the assault on Drii-Oban went exactly according to plan, and all primary and secondary targets were eliminated. Phase Two went slightly awry, when the task force encountered not three, but FIVE Konyac-class battlecruisers in the system. Squadron Two sustained heavy losses in its diversionary attack against the mobile Driian assets while the remainder of the fleet attacked the Type-2 defense station. However, the station itself was knocked out as planned, and the remainder of the task force demolished the orbital defense network.
The demand to surrender was transmitted to the Driian government, however, not immediate response was received. The fleet began the planned orbital bombardment, which lasted for approximately fifteen minutes before we received a transmission from the Driians offering a cease fire. I reiterated the Federation’s demands for a full surrender, and after some brief negotiations this demand was accepted.
The Marine forces were deployed to the Driian capital city, and took control of official Driian functions for the time being. High-ranking members of the Driian military were immediately arrested on charges of war crimes, and all available military and foreign diplomatic records were seized.
I’m going to make it very clear to the Federation representative: Starfleet had better be prepared to commit to this peacekeeping force for the short term, or we’ll be dealing with this entire matter all over again in a couple of years. If the Tactical Wing is reassigned, then I would expect comparable numbers of starships and ground forces to be assigned in their place. I’d request a minimum of three medium-size starships to monitor EACH inhabited Driian star system. And that doesn’t include the “normal” ships which would be assigned to general sector patrol beyond the Driian border. I’d also expect the defense systems at Ulia to be heavily upgraded — perhaps an orbital defense network and a heavier planetary shield.
However, the ground forces and inspection teams must be handled very carefully. The proposal to maintain the current form of Driian government is acceptable — we’re not trying to demolish the Driian way of life here. The idea of carte-blanche inspection teams is probably necessary, but would also likely cause some problems with the xenophobic Driians. I would advise judicious and limited use of these teams.
The Klingons have basically lost any say in this matter now. Their forces basically wasted themselves fooling around with starkiller devices and silly vendettas. I recommended that General Vargh petition the High Council for reinforcements way back in Question Three — and yet it’s been over a month and I haven’t seen any official reinforcements arrive. (Ren’Qo’s illicit backup ships, which were squandered in his vendetta against the Driians, don’t really count.) If they’d actually provided some assistance instead of messing the matter up more, then maybe I’d be more considerate. But as it is — absolutely not.
This is a tricky question. I’m willing to cooperate with the Romulans, since they’re the ones who took Drii-Grak and eliminated that pesky jamming field. Posession is nine-tenths of the law. In their case, I’m going to strongly suggest that they follow our lead, and keep the Driian Empire politically intact. Letting their culture and boundaries remain stable would be a big point for pacifying the Driians.
However, there’s a couple of loose ends:
The Driian cloaking devices. Just where the heck did they get these things from? Evidence points towards a Romulan double-cross. Remember those telltale flickers in the cloaks back in Question Four? My engineers’ analyses suggest that those were deliberately planted for some reason. Which follows that the Driians themselves didn’t design their cloaks.
Suspected Romulan agents in the Federation and Klingon operational structure. While he was spilling his guts, Ren’Qo gave my people a list of Romulan agents in both Vargh’s organization and on the Ulian starbase. Coincidentally, my starbase’s defensive phasers had been sabotaged less than an hour previously during a Driian attack on Ulia. It’s also believed that Romulan agents caused the destruction of one of the Klingon mining rigs in the Black Dwarf System during the big strike.
The starkiller dust in the Black Dwarf System. Just who knows about this stuff, and who has access to it?
My problem is that two of these points suggest that there’s been some Romulan monkey business, and that they’ve been double-crossing their allies, the Federation and the Klingons. If this turns out to be true, then I would be inclined to deny the Romulans any participation at all in the Driian cleanup operations.
This is a sad development — I was ready to continue supporting Vargh’s position, despite Sa’ral’s claims. I’d be much more inclined to blame Ren’Qo and the Romulans here... Ren’Qo is the one who tried to flare-bomb the Drii-Oban system, after all. Vargh may have been an incompetent idiot, but he wasn’t dishonorable.
But at this point, I’m going to leave the Klingon politics alone. It’s a big enough mess as it is without borrowing more. I just hope that the High Command can get its act together and send someone to take charge sometime soon.
I’m inclined to kick the Romulans out of the BDS altogether. They’ve used up their claimed 25% of the system now — and so it’s time for them to go home. Their sabotage and closed-minded games have effectively ruined it for the rest of us.
I’d recommend that Starfleet claim the entire BDS as a Federation protectorate now, for the maintenance of interstellar peace. Draw up a protocol that says that the mining will be open to all, but under Federation regulations and controls. If anyone raises a fuss, I’ll just point out that when it was a free-for-all, that was when things got frelled up. The Klingons will get a share, given their active participation (and I won’t forget that they had a role in the last conflict, which was the reason why they got their share of the BDS in the first place).
Hmm... how about a joint commission for the use of the system? The Federation, the Ulians, the Klingons, even the Driians (as a little incentive for the new pro-Federation government) — all get a voice in a new “management committee” that will have jurisdiction over the region. The Federation (through Starfleet) will be responsible for the security and enforcement of the regulations established by the council, but all decisions will be made jointly by these four parties.
I hate scavengers.
The main concerns are the leftover cloaking devices that the Driians used, plus the wreck of the Majestic — destroyed in Question Four. Those should be considered restricted technology. I declare all battle zones to be off-limits — any “entrepreneurs” that are caught in these zones will be subject to the confiscation of their vessels. (Hey, the sector is still under martial law, after all this mess.) Starfleet transports will be dispatched to survey the wrecked ships and remove sensitive equipment, and the wreck of the Majestic will be towed to the Ulian starbase for salvage by the proper authorities.
I’ve already discussed the loose ends from Question Four. I think at this point we’re going to have to have a thorough investigation of both Klingon and Romulan activities in this sector. Fortunately, I made it a point to seize the Driian military and diplomatic records when I occupied Driia Prime. It’ll take time, but hopefully I can find a few clues and a paper trail or two that suggest just what went on these past few months. This will require some support from higher levels, as well — given that this is the Romulan Empire we’re talking about, it should require some pressure from the Federation Council to get some answers from our pointy-eared friends as to what they’ve been up to.
The sad thing is, this will probably all get buried with bureaucratic red tape, and eventually forgotten. The Romulans are entrenched in Drii-Grak, they’re got their foot in the door in the BDS, and they’ve made their mark at Dawson’s.
Is it possible to decline a transfer? Because I’m starting to like it here in Sector Beta. Just as things have started to calm down into a reasonably secure pattern, just as I’m getting comfortable, they shuffle me off to some godforsaken hellhole. Sector Gamma doesn’t look like a very comfortable place to be — just some orbiting Class-J settlements along a hostile border.
I see what Starfleet’s thinking... after breaking their sector, sending me off to Gaul. Gee, thanks...
My successor’s operational priorities in this sector should be as follows:
Pacification and stabilization of the sector. The Driians are quieting down — make sure they stay that way. Use the Starfleet occupation force carefully and judiciously; imposing the Federation’s will wholesale will likely encourage Driian resistance and continue the entire bloody cycle all over again. Allow the Driians some leeway to grow, and expand — I have a feeling that the Driian people themselves aren’t to blame for the latest conflict, but just the leadership. And that leadership has been taken care of. Carefully bring the Driians into the Federation fold.
Defense and reconstruction of Ulia. The Ulians got hammered even worse than the last time. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the sensor replay of four roiling clouds of plasma energy blazing towards the blue-green orb, overloading the planetary shield, and striking the heavily populated surface. It’s an image that I won’t soon forget.
The maintenance of order in the Black Dwarf System. Resources are going to be tight there now that a large portion of the system is useless. Keep a close eye on the players there and make sure that they don’t break each other’s heads. And don’t forget that there’s that starkiller dust scattered around the system — that’s something that should be carefully embargoed. The BDS is also the key to any potential future uprising, as well. If the Driians are going to rebuild, they’ll need access and materials — but make sure they don’t use those materials to rebuild their military again.
Normalization of relations with Dawson’s Planet. They’re starting to realize the benefits of allying with the Federation. Don’t push them too hard — they’ll come around.
Watch out for Klingons and Romulans. They contributed to the mess that this sector has become. Keep a close eye on whoever the High Council sends to take charge of Klingon forces — he’s likely to try to push for more pieces for the Empire. Remember Generals Vargh and Ren’Qo. And make sure that the Romulans don’t double-cross us again.
As for more ships... my successor will need at least a trio of cruisers to replace the ones that were crippled, destroyed, or reassigned, at the very least. Assuming Command is in a cooperative mood today, I would also recommend trading in the five surviving Defiants that arrived late in for more flexible destroyer-types — either Sabers or refit Novas. And if Starfleet truly wants to have a lasting peace, a pair of Intrepids for command-and-control duties inside Driian space to oversee the occupation and surrender terms would not be out of the question. Unless Fleet Admiral Mark is planning a sequel to Sector Beta for some time in the future... I’m not sure how I’d like to come back here and clean up the mess that Command created by not having the backbone to follow this settlement through.
But that’s for the future.
Curse you, Mark! Why can’t I take my personal ship with me? (Ha! In retaliation, I declared the Crusader to be one of the ships that was crippled during the Driian invasion, anyway. So there.)
I shall ride out of town on the USS Cerberus, Akira-class, NCC-63709.