Back To Business
The advantage of an older ship being Task Force 47’s flagship, versus something newer, was that her arrival in a star system didn’t carry the same immediate gravitas for some of the local regional powers. USS Nobel was typical of her class, but her age meant she didn’t carry the same weight as she used to. That wasn’t to say the Galaxy-class ship wasn’t a force to be reckoned with, but Cardassian, Breen and Tzenkethi attention was more likely focused on the new ships of the task force flitting about the Expanse as they returned from the Delta Quadrant and any subsequent repairs.
And so it was that Nobel found herself orbiting the world of Telcana, home to the Xeltu species. A beautiful and picturesque world, Fleet Captain Alexandra Sudari-Kravchik had stolen time out of her day to sit back in the starboard observation lounge, long claimed by the task force staff aboard the ship, to just partake in a bit of world-watching. Captain Th’thriannen, the ship’s captain, was busy handling local relations after all and with ships of the task force still returning to their assignments, there was recently plenty of time for such moments.
“Captain Barrington,” Alexandra said as the door to the lounge admitted her executive officer to the small space. It wasn’t a large lounge, just large enough to be a retreat for her staff throughout the day. A breakout space for meetings, a quiet lunch spot, and a mediation space as needed. “I think we might need to revise task force objectives for the next few months.”
“Ma’am,” Theo nodded as he entered the room, a small smile as he spotted his boss with her chair angled for the best view. He had to admit, this little lounge was one of his favourites aboard the Nobel.
“What did you have in mind?” he asked as he settled into the seat next to her.
“The Xeltu,” she said, indicating the planet before with a gently raised hand, which then fell to the side table on her right, collecting the fragrant cup of tea sitting there. “Their last contact with Starfleet was the USS Motu Maha, before the Dominion War. We are only just now getting around to second contact with them.” Her words were precise, but not harsh. Someone who practised at making sure they said things correctly and clearly.
“There is a wealth of opportunity for Starfleet in pursuing what was once started a generation ago.” She paused, lifting the cup of tea closer to bask in the aroma of it. “I would like to draw up a list of previously visited worlds and direct efforts to pursue second contact with as many worlds as we can. Genuine efforts to be made to reach out to inhabited worlds within the Expanse and establish relations with as many as are willing to hear us out.”
Theo’s eyebrow had winged up at the mention of the Dominion War. That was a long time to go between contact, he’d be surprised if they even remembered Starfleet existed. But then, that was the nature of their mission in the Expanse.
“Improved relations would certainly help our position here,” he replied, one knee slung over the other as he studied the view from the window. “There are far too many unknowns for my liking. The more friends we can make, the better. Would you like me to draw up the list and make recommendations for assignments? We do have… a few wildcards on our roster.”
“We do at that,” Alexandra agreed, keeping her tone flat and devoid of any emotion or judgement. A sip of tea was a stalling tactic, letting her arrange thoughts and words. “A list of potential worlds and assignments would be appreciated. Base the list on current known locations of ships and nearby worlds worthy of follow-up investigations. We can review the list this afternoon, and have orders drafted overnight for a review in the morning before dispatching out to the task force.”
“Oh, and take into mind that Mackenzie is currently pursuing a matter and Atlantis is likely to slip past reliable communications as she heads out past Ultima Thule.” Alexandra sipped again at her tea. “A few more reliable communication repeaters and our communication issues with ships so far out would be greatly reduced. As well as hopefully allow us to watch our wildcards a tad more effectively.”
“Indeed, ma’am,” Theo nodded again, already collating information in his mind to commit to screen later. Then he cracked a slight smile. “I have my ways and means of keeping an eye on them as well.”
“Indeed so,” Alexandra said in response to her XO’s comment. “Commander Grantwell is also compiling a summary report on all of our ships. She should be ready by the afternoon staff meeting. You may wish to consult with her for any insights for your recommendations. I understand some of the crews experienced issues of significant psychological distress. I prefer not to compound any outstanding issues if we can avoid them.”
“Of course, I’ll make sure to catch up with her,” Theo replied. “And I’ll make sure to check into that. I don’t think we have any ships that didn’t have crew affected. They may need ongoing support.”
He dropped his foot to the floor as he made to lever himself up out of the chair. “If there’s nothing else, ma’am, then I’ll make a start. It’ll be good to get our people back out there, helping people.”
With a return to normal operations, Task Force 47 is getting back to its focus on the Thomar Expanse and the Task Force’s objectives. The Expanse isn’t just an empty patch of space wedged between the Cardassian Union and the Breen Confederacy, but home to many worlds, some of them just venturing into space, others wishing to keep their heads down, lest they earn the interest of either of the two regional powers and others yet with motivations and intent for the Expanse all their own.
And into all of this Task Force 47 is venturing forth! Initial explorations, some recent, others years or decades old, merit revisiting, especially those inhabited worlds that Starfleet has encountered previously. To this end Task Force 47 is tasked with second-contact missions.
- Reconnect with local worlds previously visited by Starfleet and inform them of our new presence in the Expanse – Deep Space 47.
- The station is big enough for embassies and commerce, its intent was to serve as a local neutral hub as well as Starfleet’s base of operations.
- Offers to assist in basic infrastructure endeavours. These all help to build a community of worlds.
- Subspace communications arrays and relays
- Early warning space weather setups
- Long-range sensor setups
- Assisting in local system or interstellar issues
- Starfleet has a reputation as mediators and troubleshooters. Best to put it on show.
- Cardassian and Breen propaganda likely hasn’t painted the Federation in a positive light either. Best to dispel such rumours.