Created by Mark Nguyen
Welcome to Sector Gamma, gentlemen. For the newcomers, what we’re engaging in is a thread of semi-directed hypothetical discussion of fleet deployment in the Star Trek universe. As the Rear Admiral assigned to this sector, it’ll be your job to assemble, deploy and manage the Starfleet ships in the area. Prior to participating in this thread, I strongly recommend you read over the threads for Sectors Alpha and Beta, so we can remember what we were doing this spring. New participants should also read them over to familiarize themselves with the concept. The time frame is no more than five years after the end of the Dominion War. The Alpha Quadrant is still recovering from the war, although some powers are worse off than others.
Now for the background specific to the sector. Assume that this is the summary of the briefing you as a Rear Admiral have received at your previous posting.
Sector Gamma is located somewhere “below” Cardassian space — that is, on the traditional maps of the galaxy we’re familiar with, it’s “under” the usual power structure in the area. The sector is still fairly remote, with any ships from known other races or powers being at least two weeks away at high warp.
Sector Gamma is located on the edge of Cardassian space as it was prior to the war. When the war broke out, this sector was relatively far-removed from the main lines, and only minor skirmishes happened. After the Dominion was pushed back into their space in “Sacrifice of Angels”, this sector was one of several that were virtually abandoned by them, and it remained essentially out of the war until its end.
Following the Dominion War, a splinter faction of Cardassians who followed the ideals of their old military dictatorship (as opposed to whatever civilian government is in charge now) came to the sector, installed themselves as the leaders of the local Cardassian colonies, and declared themselves an independent nation. Their territory extends into the sector “west” of Sector Gamma, however it doesn’t contain much aside from a couple of low-yield mining colonies on class-M worlds, and a pulsar. The Cardassians have been relatively quiet since the war, engaging in trade with the other systems but not encouraging cooperation with the Federation or other major powers. Their borders are fairly open, however.
Joval is the other major power in the sector, and while they have worked with the Federation in the past (engaging Dominion forces with them) they are not interested in a formal alliance or partnership. The Jovali (pron. joe-VAHL-ee) monarch is a benevolent guy, but whose interests lie strongly in his people over those of anyone else.
Jovalis was Joval’s first and only attempt at interstellar expansion, starting about 200 years ago. Consisting of a over a hundred rotating O’Neil-type cylinders and a dozen slightly more advanced colonies, the Jovalisi (pron. joe-VAHL-iss-eye) made their living by scooping Helium-3 and other gasses from their gas giant and processing them into exportable materials for trade. Following an economic depression fifteen years ago, the Jovalisi declared independence and applied for Federation membership. They have just been accepted as a Federation member. This has likewise been accepted by Joval, but elements of both states still desire to be together.
Prior to their acceptance, Starfleet had operated Deep Space 12 in orbit of Jovalis, with a mission to ready them for membership. DS12 was built out of one of the smallest and oldest Jovalisi colonies, but has been reconditioned by Starfleet to be an operational starbase. Aside from artificial gravity and a minor weapons upgrade the station is not terribly advanced, however it has served adequately as a resupply and administrative base. There is a population of about two thousand on the station, about 80% of which are Jovalisi.
The only regular starship assigned to the sector is the USS Rigorous, NCC-2732, an old Constellation-class ship. The Rigorous has a long history in the sector, being the first Federation starship to explore it five decades ago, and has been permanently stationed in the sector for most of the last two. Her captain and crew have worked together for a very long time, and are almost all experts in the sector. During the Dominion War, a task force was assigned here with the Rigorous and her crew as the flagship, and won several engagements. Bolian Captain Nall has commanded the ship since her first arrival in the sector, and she is a Federation legend to the locals.
Zechs and Lucrezia once were on opposite sides of the border, but were swapped in the first Cardassian treaties of the late 2360s. There was significant Maquis activity in the area as a result, and the resistance cells on Zechs were among the last eradicated by the Dominion. Things are much calmer these days, as most of the populations have relocated by now, but there is lingering sentiment from locals and independents on both sides.
G’Sall is a planet in turmoil, with a relatively large population of primitive feudal states. It is uncontacted, however a joint Federation-Jovalis “duck-blind” mission is in its final stages there.
The Pink and Purple Nebulae are big, fairly-well studied and a great place to hide stuff. The Class-O planet is basically one big puddle with little that can be mined from the water, and only one small land mass that has occasionally been used sporadically by traders on their way to somewhere else.
- Joval (Binary System)
- Population: 3.7 billion
- Alignment: Neutral
- Government: Monarchy
- Technology: 22rd century
- Defense: 4 warships (Miranda-class equivalent), 2 warships (Sovereign-class equivalent), small commercial fleet, light orbital defenses
- Notes: Low natural resources, low industry, high agricultural
- Jovalis (Class-J with orbiting colonies)
- Population: 360 million total
- Alignment: Federation (member)
- Government: Democracy
- Technology: Current
- Defense: Large commercial fleet, heavy orbital defenses
- Notes: Breakaway state of Joval, low natural resources, heavy industry
- G’Sall (Binary System)
- Population: 3 billion
- Alignment: None
- Government: Feudal
- Technology: Bronze Age
- Defense: None
- Notes: Pre-warp, uncontacted civilization
- Lucrezea (Class-M agrarian colony)
- Population: 14,000
- Alignment: Federation (non-member)
- Bifour IV (Class-M)
- Population: 6.1 billion
- Alignment: Cardassian
- Government: Fascist
- Technology: Current
- Defense: 3 Galor-class warships, 7 Hideki-class fighters, moderate orbital defenses
- Notes: Breakaway state of Cardassia, heavy industry, high resources
- Zechs (Class-M mining colony)
- Population: 21,000
- Alignment: Bifour IV (occupied)
Evaluate the sector, and determine what Starfleet’s priorities should be. Note that unlike previous sectors, you’re coming into an area where Starfleet has had a small but significant presence for some time. Now that the Federation has a member world in the sector, how should Starfleet’s priorities change? Summarize your thoughts, note any gaps in the information that you were provided, and where you should focus your intelligence-gathering efforts.
Though Jovalis has benefited from Federation trade for several years now, their new membership will allow for a full-scale upping of their society to the latest technologies. One of the greatest tasks is the upgrading of almost one hundred of their old rotating colony cylinders with artifical gravity, upgraded power systems, and so forth, which are antiquated despite their otherwise current technology level. Starfleet can only allocate so many resources to this far-off sector, and much of it is going to this task, which will absorb hundreds of Starfleet personnel for several years. With what’s left, Starfleet will allow either a DS9-style upgrade to the DS12 station, making it into a full starbase within a year’s time; or to begin construction on a larger starbase of Starfleet design, which will take at least three years to build using a combination of components shipped in or built on-site. Given that this will be your headquarters for the foreseeable future, what would be the best option? A Starfleet starbase can be built anywhere in the sector you choose.
Starfleet sees this as a relatively stable sector, and while they want an expanded presence in the area they will not commit many ships to the sector. There will be a steady stream of Federation freighters coming into the sector for the Colony Upgrade Project, in addition to the expected influx of Federation trade.
Recommend a fleet of no more than six starships to be assigned to the sector. This fleet will be evaluated back at Starfleet Command, and if approved will arrive in-system after the events of Question Two. However:
There cannot be any large (Galaxy, Ambassador, Sovereign, etc.) starships in your fleet.
There must be at least one non-combat ship in the fleet (science, transport, etc.). Justify its presence and use.
Until your fleet arrives, the only ships that will be assigned to the sector are the USS Rigorous and the ship you arrived in from Sector Beta (if you didn’t participate in that scenario, you’re arriving on a generic Excelsior-class starship). At your discretion, the ship you arrived on can be incorporated into your fleet. Where will you deploy your two ships until then? What will the deployment of your fleet be when they get here?
The USS Rigorous will not be a part of your fleet, as she is scheduled to be decommissioned after a long and eventful life; Captain Nall herself is retiring from the Fleet. However, her command crew need not be sent away as well. The Rigorous’ command crew is a good team, and includes:
- First Officer — Commander Michael Boston (Human, 12 Years of Service) — Excellent Service Record. Experienced Diplomat.
- Tactical — Lt. Laura Kardon (Human, 6 Years of Service) — Good Service Record. Native of Zechs. Little Combat experience.
- Science — Lt. Commander Shezef (Andorian Male, 15 Years of Service) Excellent Service Record. Expert on the Pink and Purple Nebulae.
- Medical — Commander Taris Tani (Bajoran Female, 20 Years of Service) — Fair Service Record. Married to a Jovalisi diplomat on DS12.
- Engineering — Lt. Commander Bayl (Betazoid Male, 8 Years of Service) — Good Service Record.
- Helm — Lt. (j.g.) Walter Shumar (Human, 40 years of Service) — Excellent Service Record. Legendary pilot. Has convinced all but one of his commanding officers never to promote him.
- DS12’s CO — Commander Stalek (Vulcan, 20 Years of Service) — Good service record. Known to the Jovalisi, though not terribly popular.
As the new Admiral in the sector, you have the option of assigning this crew to your command. Do you want to keep them around, and what would you do with them? Justify your reply.
The Rigorous is to be decommissioned, but a group of Jovalisi citizens wishes to keep her around as a museum ship for their nation. Another group from Lucrezea also wants her, but as the flagship for a new militia they are creating. While the ship will be stripped of any sensitive technology in either case, the selling off of such an old starship to friendly concerns would not be unheard of. Recommend to Starfleet what they should do with the requests, and if any conditions should be specified to either party.
Additional background: For those wondering about the Jovali ships and why they’re advanced compared to their apparent level of technology, assume that they are older-tech (but not old) ships that were retrofitted during the Dominion War with modern weapons and shields. That technology was purchased or traded for, mostly from non-Federation sources (including the Ferengi). While they have the firepower of their mentioned counterparts, they do not have the speed or range. However, they are really big, and require crews in the thousands.
Also, Starfleet has accepted your recomendations for fleet composition and deployment. The fleet’s on its way and will get here in time for the next question. Unfortunately, any manned station outside of the Jovalis zone if you’d ordered the upgrading of DS12 cannot be done. BTW, while Deep Space 12 should technically be relabelled Starbase 592, everyone continues to call it DS12 for sentimental reasons.
Captain Nall has spent longer as a starship captain than you likely have in your whole career. Over a mug of Raktajino, the two of you amicably debate the differences between the responsibilities of a Captain and an Admiral in Starfleet. One of the key differences is of course the emphasis in tactical or strategic planning, as the case may be. Nall challenges you to flex your smaller-picture mind by asking how you would defend DS12 in an attack on Jovalis. Typically, this sort of plan would be for the DS12 CO, but she’d like to see what your thoughts are.
Presented thus is a map of the Jovalis Orbital Zone, with all major real estate marked accordingly. The Deyal and Piranti colony groups, and the Piranti construction area are all in LaGrange points around the first major Jovalisi moon (there are eleven more such moons of varying sizes and types, orbiting further out). The Cluster is a group of colonies that was established around a small, resource-rich moon, which has since been broken up and used to create those colonies. Given the resources at hand, determine your response to:
- Up to half of the Cardassian threat forces in the sector.
- Up to twenty smaller vessels as though from a Maquis attack.
- Just for fun, a Borg sphere entering the system.
Assume that beyond your starship resources already there (your fleet has not yet arrived, and DS12 has not been upgraded), you have a number of shuttles and no more than a half-dozen runabout-sized craft, and a dozen or so lightly-armed Jovalisi freighters. Be sure to note what the objectives of the attacking force would nominally be, and thus how to best respond to that situation.
The following are several situations that occur on your watch. For each scenario, describe what the nearest (or most relevant) starship to that event should be, what that ship should do in response, and how your fleet status could or should change as a result. Describe also any diplomatic efforts your staff should be making. (Note: Assume that events from one scenario will not directly affect the others.)
The first Federation delegation arrives in the sector to welcome its new member world. Several of the delegation wish to tour the sector to meet key parties on all the worlds, including a diplomatic mission to Bifour IV at the invitation of their government. Recommend how the delegates should go about their plan, which of your assets should be used, and how the rest of them should be deployed. The delegates arrive aboard the USS Ki, an Intrepid-class starship, and will return to the core systems on another ship. The Ki is on her way through Bifour space (with their permission) to explore the sectors beyond.
Miscalculating a warp equation, one of the Jovali cruisers creates a wormhole and drops itself right in the middle of the Pink Nebula, where it is disabled. The Jovali ask for help; however, Cardassian ships are closer and offer to respond. The Jovali aren’t terribly fond of the Cardassians.
The “duck blind” ground station is raided by pirates. They steal the station’s cloaking device, cloak suits (see Star Trek: Insurrection), and bioneural computer system. The pirate ship escapes, integrating the cloak into their shields. The mission crew cleverly bumps their heads in the right places and are hiding among the population, but need help before they are found out.
Create another scenario like the ones presented in part (B). Any reasonable military, political or scientific scenario is acceptable. However, do not answer the scenario yourself. Rather, it will be answered by the others as part of Question Three. Also, assume that the fleet will not have arrived when this scenario is answered.
The USS Ki fails to check in on the far side of Bifour space. She sent a regular report through the DS12 comm network on schedule when she was more than halfway through their space, but they are more than a week late with their scheduled report. All the Bifour Cadassian ships are accounted for, and they report their last contact with the Ki a couple days after their last check-in. The Cardassians realize that you will want to send someone in to search for them and will let you do so; however, whatever you send in will be escorted by one of their Hidekis who will aid in the search. Detail your plans, deployments, and search priorities.
Additional Background: At your discretion, use Admiral Dan’s specs for the Jovali (royal?) fleet ships. They’re cool.
Objectively critique one of the answers to the hypothetical attacks in Question 2A.
Answer one or more of the questions posed by the other participants in Question 2C. Remember, at this point your fleet has not yet arrived.
The fleet you requisitioned in Q1 arrives in full, with an additional present: the USS Aristophanes (Miranda-class, Saratoga-refit, NCC-31923). The Aristophanes is a Starfleet Academy training ship, and carries about a hundred cadets and a regular crew of twenty on a second-year field cruise. They’ll be spending a few months in Sector Gamma, helping out with routine assignments while having cadets spend a couple weeks at a time on your ships. So, adding the Aristophanes into the mix, maneuver your fleet according to the following scenarios. Make note of any political reactions from involved parties that may occur. The Rigorous has now gone to whatever fate you’ve recommended in Q1.
The Lucrezeans get their act together and purchase some ships to head up their militia. Their patchwork fleet includes a smattering of customized shuttles, two surplus Klingon Birds-of-Prey (D-12 class) from the Ferengi, and a Yridian destroyer. In response, the Bifour fleet moves a Galor and two Hidekis around Zechs, despite repeated statements that the Lucrezean government has no interest in expansion/retaking the former Federation colony.
Whatever search party you sent out to find the USS Ki finds a gaggle of escape pods close to the pulsar in the adjoining sector, containing about a third of her crew. Your people eventually reconstruct that the Ki struck a gravitic mine left over from the Cardassian conflicts of the 2340s. The mine stuck the bridge, wiping out the command crew along with most of the saucer. Some wreckage of the ship is located where it should be, and the energy signatures match that of a larger-than-usual, but not unheard-of, Cardassian mine.
The separatist elements in Jovalis space are mostly concentrated in the Cluster, though no more than a third of any colony cylinder there is interested in separation. However, a bombshell is dropped when a cylinder holds a referendum not to separate, but to move — separatists in a Deyal group cylinder want to move their home to the Cluster. The vote succeeds, and the municipal government requests that Starfleet tractor their colony to its new home. Such an action will tie up your largest ship, or two of your smaller ships, for a couple months. However, the Jovalis government sees this as a legal action, so...
Create another scenario like those in part C, except this time it involves your whole fleet. Feel free to follow up on the scenario you created in Q2.
Guest Lecture by Dan Carlson (aka MinutiaeMan)
Respond to one or more of the scenarios created by the other participants in Part (D) of Question Three. This time, you have your entire fleet at your disposal. (The events in the scenario for your response here do not have to affect the deployment of your fleet for the following questions — unless you want them to.)
A civil war breaks out on Joval. In the past few years a pro-democracy movement has gained strength on the homeworld, particularly on the western continent which is the most industrialized region of the mostly-agricultural planet, and maintains the strongest off-world ties. Numerous local leaders call for the establishment of a planetary parliament and a full constitution. Monarch Ypaha Hrrays (supported by many of the more traditional politicians in his court) accuses the reformists that they are betraying the Jovali way of life, and refuses to allow the formation of a parliament. The provinces on the western continent respond by declaring independence. The monarch in turn accuses the rogue provinces of jeopardizing the security of the whole planet by instigating such division. However, when the provinces refuse to back down, Monarch Hrrays sends in ground troops to pacify the continent.
Provided is a map of the Joval Star System. How will you redeploy your task force once you hear of the fighting? As far as is known, all ships of the Jovali Royal Stellar Navy are in orbit of Joval — for now.
The Jovalisi government urges the Monarch to accept reforms, but he refuses. Although he’s not violently xenophobic, he’s clearly wary of outside influences. However, Monarch Hrrays does agree to a brief private conference with you as the local representative of the Federation, to discuss the situation. What will you tell him, or ask him, at this meeting?
Despite declaring independence from Joval and joining the Federation, the Jovalisi have always maintained strong cultural and economic ties with the homeworld. The civil war on Joval threatens to spread to the various Jovalisi habitats — it’s obvious that many Jovalisi citizens will to get involved somehow. The majority of Jovalisi favor the rebels because of their common democratic beliefs, but there is a vocal minority of pro-monarchy activists, as well.
The local Jovalisi government’s official position is in line with Federation policy — the civil war is an internal matter, and they’ll remain neutral. Of course, in practice that policy isn’t worth much at all. Since the Federation does not have any high-ranking civilian officials in the region, it falls to you to set the Federation’s policy and make sure that Starfleet is not dragged into any local conflict.
Both sides of the conflict on Joval are receiving support from various “interest groups” on Jovalis. They’re sending medical supplies, foodstuffs, power cells, ships, weapons... even some troops (completely unofficially). However, not all of the materiel that’s being sent is home-grown Jovalisi equipment: you start receiving reports of Federation-built phasers used in battles, and even a few small Federation ships used in limited space combat. There’s also a vague reference to a rogue group called the Jovalisi Freedom Brigade which is using a group of Federation-built small craft (think Maquis-type ships here) to aid the rebel cause. What will you do in response to this intelligence?
In order to stop the flow of materiel to the rebels, the Jovali monarch orders a planetary blockade — all incoming ships are stopped and searched. No vessels are allowed to land on the western continent where most of the rebels are based. The Jovalisi local government protests this blockade and demands it be lifted immediately. The western continent is the source of most of the trade between Jovali and Jovalis, and could seriously hurt Jovalis’s economy if contact is cut off. A few Jovalisi ships try to run the blockade, but unsuccessfully. The Jovalisi Merchants’ Guild requests Starfleet protection of their ships near Jovalis and the immediate lifting of the blockade over the western continent for neutral vessels.
In a surprise operation, a squad of rebel commandos manages to commandeer the Jovali heavy cruiser Dralliw — apparently with the assistance of a number of mutineers on board. They escape from Jovali orbit, destroying one of the royal fleet’s smaller frigates on the way out. The ship disappears into the asteroid belt, and Jovali forces do not pursue at the moment — short of sending every remaining vessel in their fleet (one cruiser and three frigates), the Jovali are not likely to recapture their cruiser through conventional means. The rebels waste no time in proclaiming their victory and announce that the commandeered cruiser will be launching reprisals against the royal forces and any of their supporters.
Hostility is brewing between some of the more vocal pro-rebel and pro-monarch factions in some of the Jovalisi habitats. Several riots have erupted in colonies, especially in the Deyal Group, and there have been reports of roving gangs attacking supporters of the opposite faction. Leaders from several of the habitats ask you to provide assistance in order to maintain security.
Things start going south. Jovali ground forces are advancing across the planet, and refugees are streaming into the Jovalis colonies by the hundreds, then thousands. The various orbital habitats can handle the newcomers for the time being, but the longer the situation goes on, the more difficult sustaining them will be. Although the habitats are already close to their maximum, the flow of refugees shows no sign of decreasing as the fighting continues. The general estimate for the habitats as a whole is 3 weeks before a supply shortage develops. This estimate includes life support capacity, food supplies, and overcrowding, and assumes that the situation is not resolved and the flow of refugees does not diminish.
The vast majority of incoming ships carrying refugees are loaded past capacity and were built by Jovali, meaning that sending the refugees out of the system on the ships they cam in is not an option — they simply aren’t fast enough for a true interstellar journey, especially considering the overcrowding on board. What will you do with them?
A Jovali passenger ship enters Jovalis space, pursued by one of the surviviing Jovali frigates, the Llenrup. The large passenger ship has taken heavy damage; there are several hull breaches, their warp drive is offline, their shields destroyed. The captain of the Jovali frigate claims that the passenger ship is smuggling a cell of known rebels away from Joval; the passenger ship captain says that the Jovali navy is trying to keep refugees from leaving Joval.
A group of raiders have taken advantage of the confusion in the past weeks, and have started raiding Federation freighters carrying agricultural products to Jovalis, and on to the rest of the Federation. It’s possible that the raiders are operating out of the asteroid field... and may even be using the cloaking technology that was stolen from G’Sall a few months back.
There are a series of bomb attacks in various Jovalisi orbital habitats. Although none has resulted in a major loss of life, the docking facilities of one station have been severely damaged. The attacks have been confined to the Cluster — so far. How do you ensure the security of your home base, Deep Space Twelve? (Keep in mind the ongoing refugee situation, and the fact that many of the refugees may need medical attention at a Starfleet facility.)
After weeks of fighting, the royal faction’s ground forces prevail. All of the major cities in the rebel provinces are occupied and placed under martial law. Monarch Hrrays begins issuing strict new edicts to ensure the “pacification” of the provinces. News from the provinces is scarce as the royal forces almost completely cut off the region from any offworld contact — even after the war is declared to be over and the provincial governments surrender. The Jovalisi local government isn’t happy with the developments and cuts off diplomatic relations with the homeworld, although they take no other action.
However, it seems that a guerilla war is still going on in some out-of-the-way areas, and the monarch is using this as an excuse to crack down. The Jovali royal navy has also failed to track down and capture the cruiser that was captured in Part (C). They seem to be laying low for now.
Archivist’s Note: Sector Gamma was put on indefinite hold and eventually abandoned in 2003. In 2006, I asked Mark about the possibility of reviving the story for a proper conclusion. He sent me his rough outline of ideas for the next few questions, but we never got the story finished due to lack of interest. Here’s what he sent:
ALrighty, here we go!
Captain Nall loves Gamma so much, that she’s not gonna let anything get in her way if the people there are threatened. Not retirement, not Starfleet regs, and not the decommissioning of her ship. The core plot of Sector Gamma involved a grassroots rebellion and eventually a three-way skirmish war between the Cardassian faction, the Lucrezia militia, and Jovalisi separatists.
After where we left off, bombings would have started to flare up simultaneously on Zechs and Lucrezia. Small places, strategically unimportant, but it would have gotten the populations pointing fingers at each other. The Aristophanes would have been critically damaged by what could have been another Cardassian mine. Again, fingers are pointing. The colony being moved to the Cluster would also have been sabotaged, though only in certain population sectors, and with the possible influence by Federation tech. The whole idea is that by the end of the second question where we left off, EVERYONE would be accusing someone else for their problems. Then the shit would hit the fan.
No matter where it ended up, the Rigorous would have been stolen by parties unknown — set up with a cloaking device and vanishes. Turns out the cloaking device is of the same type the pirates used when they hit the G’Sall duck blind mission. At the helm, the intel guys determine that an older Bolian woman was behind the hijacking. Yep, it’s none other than Captain Nall! Disgusted with the various injustices done to the Lucrezians and harboring some lasting resentment to the Cardassians for blowing up two starships, she engineers the theft of the Rigorous to be her flagship in a campaign of justice. Since she couldn’t have done this without Starfleet help, this immediately casts doubt on her own command crew. Depending on how the players answer their questions, some of them will eventually be revealed as sympathizers, but not before they run around suspecting them and possibly reassigning them (and improving or worsening the situation). Feel free to pick who’s who. 😉
Nall masterminded the pirate attack on G'sall, but didn’t do anything else. The Lucrezians sympathize with her, and even help her when the skirmishes break out - but not officially. The Lucrezians hit Zechs, who hits back. Meanwhile, the Jovalisi separatists blame the Feds and the Jovali for sabotaging their new member. They can’t retaliate, but they start arming themselves. This increases the arms traffic coming into the sector, not only to the separatists but to the fighters on Zechs and Lucrezia.
At the end, we discover the Cardassians meanwhile are relatively innocent. Turns out that the mines were completely coincidental — leftovers from the war that ended up inciting a lot of problems. No big war breaks out. We get close, with the Cardassians and the Jovali coming to blows over the Zech/Lucrezia thing, with Starfleet in the middle as always. The entire point of the exercise is to up the paranoia factor and get everyone blaming everyone else - and to see how our Admirals react. It’s a modern-day parallel to the use of terror to justify agendas, overall.
Whew! That’s all I can remember. I think I missed few things, but that’s the main idea...