Cast of Characters
The K’Ehleyr was lit up by spotlights as she completed her final approach to her usual berth within Starbase 72’s massive docking bay. The Resolute-class ship’s graceful lines and large engines always made her stand out against the more mundane vessels that she shared the hanger with, and it was always a relief for her crew to be home. This time, they’d been in one of the most dangerous situations they’d ever been in: carrying the newly-appointed Commander, Task Force 72 to lead a Klingon squadron from the front in the Archanis Campaign. As a diplomatic vessel, the K’Ehleyr was always prepared to fight her way out should negotiations go south, but it was rare for her to purposefully engage in combat. She’d lobbed quantum torpedoes at D’Ghor vessels from behind the Klingon ships she was coordinating but still managed to get a few new patches of carbon scoring on the hull when she’d caught the attention of one of the few D’Ghor cruiser-type vessels that hadn’t yet been mopped up by either the rest of the Fourth Fleet or the Klingon Defense Force.
Rear Admiral Belvedere was waiting at the docking port; the K’Ehleyr was comfortable, but he always felt more at home on starbases. Unlike many Starfleet officers, starship service had never really been a dream of his. He’d fit in much more naturally in behind-the-scenes roles, eventually working his way through the ranks of Starfleet Logistics before shifting over to the command of increasingly important starbases. As the leader of Starbase 38, he’d demonstrated diplomatic savvy and acumen that had resulted in his first-ever field command: Task Force 72. Given that he could coax the KDF into joining the Archanis Campaign before even reaching his new headquarters, he was feeling particularly confident that he was the correct choice to replace Captain Bastin.
There was a soft thud as the gangway connected to the exterior of his the K’Ehleyr and then a brief moment while the computer equalized the pressure of the docking bridge with the starship before the doors slid open. With his trusty Strategic Operations Officer, Commander Stephanie Lawrence, he proceeded to cross the cofferdam in tow. SB38 was a much newer and more sophisticated facility than SB72, but Starbase 72 was impressive nonetheless. He noted a larger-than-average number of Argonaut-class ships in the dock as he walked, but investigating why took a back seat when he nearly literally ran into a Saurian commodore waiting at the entrance.
“Welcome aboard, Admiral Belvedere!” she exclaimed, offering out a purple hand with an enthusiastic grin. Or what he thought was one. It was harder to tell with Saurians than some other races. Belvedere made a note of the informality but accepted it.
“Commodore Jalian. I wasn’t expecting to meet you at the airlock,” Belvedere replied, eyebrow arching out of habit. Ships came and went from stations that size all the time with all manner of flag officers aboard, so he was hoping to just go straight to his quarters to gather his thoughts, but that wasn’t to be. “This is my Strategic Operations Officer, Commander Lawrence. I don’t imagine we’ll be in your hair too much–metaphorically speaking,” he added, glancing at the Saurian’s scales.
“Commodore,” Lawrence said, with a nod.
Jalian laughed. “Yes, I don’t imagine you will be, with a galaxy’s worth of diplomatic intrigues to keep you busy up in the tower levels,” she added. Station Operations was located in the rim of the docking bay, while the offices he would using were a kilometer further up the station in the lofty towers that contained crew quarters and administrative facilities. “The ongoing True Way situation is troubling, but so far, that’s been kept under control by local assets.”
“Indeed. Let’s hope it stays that way,” Belvedere said with a forced smile. As he was saying that, a captain appeared next to Jalian. Human and a little younger than Belvedere was, he observed the commodore with a look somewhere between amusement and annoyance.
“Ah, and this my first officer, Leighton Mortcombe.”
“Welcome to Starbase 72, Admiral Belvedere,” Mortcombe said. He offered the admiral a polite smile but remained otherwise rigid.
“Captain,” Belvedere replied, starting to wonder if he’d ever get to proceed to his rooms.
“I should love to have you and your staff for dinner soon. If we’re going to be working together, it’s good to know more about one another,” Jalian enthused. “Your husband will be joining us, won’t he? I noticed he wasn’t on the manifest for today’s arrival.”
Belvedere was caught a little off-guard by how chatty the woman was, so he didn’t have a chance to slip into imperiousness. “Bryson will be along in a few weeks. There was an architecture conference on Earth he wanted to attend first, and it was on the way,” he noted. His husband was a civilian architect, and being asked about him by a subordinate felt unusual, but Jalian clearly did her research.
Before he could process much more, he heard a scoffing sound to his left and turned to see a commander in operations gold with her arms crossed over her chest, staring through the viewport. “None of the other ones brought the ship back with blast marks on it,” she noted to herself.
“I’m sorry, Commander–?”
“Commander Melissa Vane, Admiral. Our Chief of Shipyard Operations. She sometimes speaks before considering her audience,” Mortcombe replied, with a tone of warning directed to the other officer.
“Evidently so. I trust you’ll have my ship ready to go in no time, Commander,” the Admiral replied with ice in his voice.
Commander Vane nodded in response, looking as though she were biting back any number of remarks in response.
Lawrence cleared her throat behind Belvedere. “Sir, we ought to get to the Task Force Operations Center and check in on those ongoing negotiations in the Delta Quadrant…,” she suggested.
Belvedere sighed with relief at having a reason to exit the conversation. “Excellent. Lead the way, Ms. Lawrence,” he said, gesturing towards the turbolift. Jalian joined them, though, and spent the whole trip up through the center of the station talking about the best places to eat, the most interesting characters, and pretty much everything else she’d learned after decades in the Minos Korva system, leaving Task Force 72’s new leader quite ready to get back on his ship and find the next diplomatic bushfire that needed putting out.
Task Force 72 Lore Revisions
As you can see from the above snippet of fiction, one of the things I have focused on since taking over Task Force 72 has been to work with LadyBlue to create new materials for Task Force 72’s sandbox area, which have so far included new articles for Starbase 72 itself, our new flagship the K’Ehleyr, and several free-to-use non-player characters that can be integrated into your fiction, or used if your RPG visits Starbase 72. The characters mentioned here (other than Admiral Belvedere and Commander Lawrence) can be used for things like giving out mission orders, or just as a foil for your character to have a conversation with. Commodore Jalian will talk your ears off. Captain Mortcombe is strictly business. Commander Vane has a short temper with captains who bring her damaged starships. It’s meant to be a wide range of personalities that you can use to help flavor your stories with new ways of engaging with Task Force 72’s lore presence.
The BFMS site has also been updated to make it more clear that Task Force 72 isn’t “the Cardassian Task Force.” We operate all over the galaxy, in all four quadrants. My fiction is set in the Delta Quadrant, for instance, as my avatar ship conducts second and third contact missions of races first met by Voyager. Other fictions are set closer to home. Starbase 72 itself remains close to the Cardassian border, and so the True Way situation remains one of the flashpoints we are responsible for, but it’s not the only option for your storytelling.
As we go forward, I’ll be adding more fiction seeds to the forums as ways of inspiring you with digestible, approachable plot points you could use in your ongoing stories, or for one-off short stories. These won’t be things that members will be obligated to work with, but it will provide folks with assignments their ships could undertake and greater context about diplomacy in the galaxy.
Task Force 72 April Competition Results
We had a lot of entries for this month’s competitions. Keep up the good work for next time! As a reminder, even entering a competition is something you can record in your activity log, and entering competitions regularly can earn you merit awards and promotions.
Gallery of Heroes
As a smaller task force, TF72 still manages to rack up many activity ribbons and competition entries, but I wanted to specifically highlight four more major achievements that occurred in March. April is already shaping up to have many more kudos to hand out next time around! Remember, if you record your activity in your dossier, task force staff will be able to give you awards and promotions. If you feel like something you’ve done has been missed, please reach out to us in the TF72 Lounge on Discord!
- In March we welcomed Ensign Nitaar and Ensign Tyler Bardot to the Task Force!
- Thad was promoted to Lieutenant!
- Jana Dixon received the Medal of Achievement!