“Tactical Diplomacy / Diplomatic Tactics”
The elevator platform descended Mithrar Anchorage’s Forward Sail with a shudder, causing Rear Admiral Matthew Cody to tighten his grip on the railing which surrounded the passenger car at waist height. He wondered if he would ever get used to the Turei attitude to engineering of “If it still works, don’t mess with it.”
The master-at-arms 2nd class who shared the elevator platform with him gave a slight smile.
“I don’t think anyone’s actually fallen off one of these yet, Admiral,” he noted quietly. Cody cast him a dark look.
“Yet is the important word in that sentence, Petty Officer. Nobody’s fallen off… yet.”
The platform came to a jerky halt at Level F, Forward and Cody stepped off and into the companionway which led to Heavy Docking Boom 1. Looking up through the reinforced transparent aluminum canopy of the companionway – he took in the graceful lines of USS Icarus – the Argonaut-class cruiser assigned to the Delta-One Task Group of Task Force 38 – which was docked at the far end of the boom. Dropping his gaze to his destination, Cody identified the figure ahead who stood waiting for him on the station side of the airlock which connected with Icarus’s quarterdeck airlock – Starfleet’s deputy commander in the Delta Quadrant, Commodore Kudred Valyn.
The bajoran/cardassian officer nodded in greeting as Cody approached, his uniform immaculate as always. One hand moved to his chest and subconsciously and minutely adjusted the position of his communicator.
“A very good evening to you, Admiral,” Kudred offered. “You did not have to come to confirm with your own eyes that I was leaving the station…” His amber-coloured eyes flashed with the dry wit which Cody had become accustomed to during their short time together.
The admiral grinned. “You know that’s not why I’m here, Valyn,” he replied. He held out an encrypted PADD to his deputy. “Eyes only.”
Kudred raised a curious eyebrow. He raised the device towards his face and allowed the biometric security sensors to scan him. The screen flashed and data began to scroll slowly up the screen. The officer was silent for several moments as he digested the information. Finally, he lowered the PADD and looked back to his commander.
“That’s what the mercenary we captured called him under interrogation. A ‘fixer’. And now we have information that he’s operating with heavy protection in the Horvath sector,” Cody replied.
“And we’re sure that this… ‘fixer’ is the individual who employed the mercenaries who were attacking Mithrar Anchorage when we first arrived?”
Cody nodded. “As far as we can be sure. The ‘heavy protection’ referred to is at least one light cruiser and four corvette-sized vessels. Possibly more. Which is why I’ve assigned Icarus and Ares to the operation. Elysion will join the task group at the edge of the Mithrar sector. I want you to lead the mission, Valyn because I need somebody with the diplomatic and tactical experience to decide on the best way to proceed when you get there. Once you find this ‘fixer’ – I need you to… persuade him to share with you the identity of the person or persons who retained him to destroy this station – and why they wanted it destroyed.”
“Understood, Admiral,” Kudred gave a single, definite nod.
“Captain Ransom of Elysion will be your Number Two for the mission,” Cody continued. “I’ve briefed him already over subspace. You can brief Captain Harkness of Icarus and Commander Philler of Ares once you’re underway.” He stuck out his hand in the very human manner that Kudred had come to expect from Cody. “Good luck, Commodore. Good luck and Godspeed.”
Kudred shook the man’s hand warmly.
“Thank you, Admiral. I hope to return soon.” Without further discussion, Kudred stepped into the airlock, the two parts of the air-tight doors closing diagonally behind him with a pressurised hiss. Through the window of the airlock doors, Cody watched his Task Force XO as he touched two fingers to his temple in a casual salute, stepped aboard Icarus and disappeared from sight.
Updates for October 2020
• Due to a recent increase in RL responsibilities, Christopher has reluctantly requested an ELOA from his duties as our Task Force XO until the New Year. Good luck with getting everything sorted, Christopher – we look forward to welcoming you back very soon!
• On the flip side of that, McGig has kindly agreed to step up and take on the role of Task Force XO for TF38 on a temporary basis. If you see him around Discord, why not say ‘Hi’? Be kind to him, he’s a nice guy. Don’t hurt him.
• Also due to RL time considerations, I’m sad to report that our Task Force Chief of Staff, Brad has made the tough decision to step down. On the positive side, however, Brad will be staying on in a leadership role as Task Group Commanding Officer for Delta-Three, commanding the Ambassador-class USS Adelphi, co-ordinating the group of Federation starships currently exploring the Nacene Reach area of the Delta Quadrant.
• Brad will be joined in the new TGCO role by Kraytavi as she commands the Imperial Klingon Cruiser VaQbach as part of Task Group Delta-Five, deep within the Delta Quadrant’s Nekrit Expanse.
• Finally, I want to draw attention to the USS Ares, mentioned in the fiction extract above… Ares is a light explorer assigned to the Delta Quadrant and one of TF38’s pre-made games. Unfortunately, her captain, Commander Philler sadly won’t survive the mission to track down the Hazari ‘fixer’ (the clue’s in the name!) so on her return, Ares will be looking for a new commanding officer to take the reins and continue operations in the Nacene Reach as part of Task Group Delta-Three. If commanding an Intrepid-class starship as you explore the Delta Quadrant has been your dream since watching Voyager, and you’d be interested in leading your own game here as part of TF38, please send me a DM in Discord!