Task Force 86: June Report
“Admiral on the Bridge!”
The old Trill pushed from the turbolift and tugged on the dark gray and black of his tunic. He didn’t have time to adjust the wrap of red at his neck. Rear Admiral Arjaal Taam’s arms went behind his back as, with a glance backward to a scrawny Acamarian in a leather jacket, he spoke. “Good evening,” he told the wide-eyed Ensign at the tactical console. The lights were low and cool with the reduced operational requirements of night shift.
Old, shrewd eyes glanced at the officer on duty, a young Bolian female, and regarded her with a reassuring lilt of the mouth. “Chief of the Watch, you will set a course bearing-” and the Trill swung his hand forward again, a PADD chirping as he keyed it. Taam read from it, “017 mark 322, maximum warp.” When the Bolian blinked her surprise, Arjaal began to stride down to the Captain’s Readyroom, the skittish Acamarian boy in tow. His finger lashed to the Tactical officer, “Take the ship to Battlestations. Inform Captain Curry I want to see him and his first officer in ten minutes.” The Admiral pivoted to a stop, his hands behind his back again. The Acamarian nearly ran into him, “In his Ready Room, please.”
The Trill turned and stepped inside, the grungy youth following him. Stunned eyes looked around at one another from Ops, from Tactical and from the Conn. “You heard him!” The Bolian found her voice, “Red alert! Ensign Kyle, call the Captain and Commander Singh. Recall Alpha Shift personnel. Helm, execute his orders.”
“Anyone know what the hell is going on?” Captain Shiloh Curry was a bear of a man, broad-shouldered enough that they strained the red of his uniform shoulders. The flashing of red alert bled color across his dark face and nearly black eyes. A woman of Sikh descent walked with him, calm and centered to the vague notion of menace Curry walked with regardless of his intentions. Catching a look at the streaming snaps of light on the screen at high warp, he’d expected to see Ramatis and its vast expanses of plains below them, it’s oceans a creamy greenish-yellow.
“Sir?” Helm’s relief hadn’t arrived and the night shift officer looked just out of the Academy. “I’m reading twelve Federation starships and three Klingon vessels on long-range sensors.”
Curry sighed, “Later, Helm. I’ll find out what’s going on.” He did a curt nod to the youth and turned on his heel into his Ready Room. African art dominated the small space and spoke volumes about Curry’s character. His desk was a standing one directly facing the door. The doors hissed shut with an unfamiliar smell in his nose. “What’s going on?” He stated with a sharp tug on his uniform and he nodded at the Admiral, “Sir.” The Trill was not behind his desk but had instead just brought some kind of steaming milk-like drink to the Acamarian boy. He looked ready to sit but, seeing Singh and Curry’s arrival, he forewent it.
“Ah, Captain. I do apologize for the late hour. It couldn’t be helped. Allow me to introduce,” and he flourished old fingers at the boy, “Akkam Nhot, of the Gatherer Clans. A Blue Hand, if I remember correctly.” The cautious gaze of the youth swiveled from Curry’s dark, large shadow to nod once at the Admiral. Curry’s night-colored eyes dropped to stare at the youth’s intricately tattooed left hand. The Captain nodded at him brusquely.
“What’s going on?” Curry repeated, his muscular arms crossing his chest.
Admiral Taam didn’t mince words but produced the PADD again. He tapped at it and then flung information up onto the far wall. The screen sprung to life with the holographic image of a nebula. Curry immediately recognized it: the Azure Nebula. “Mr. Nhot has provided Starfleet with actionable intelligence. We’ve relayed it to the Klingon outpost in the Khitomer sector and I imagine they will be in-bound shortly.”
“Ensign Donovan reports three Klingon vessels are on an intercept course now,” Singh spoke up in her almost lyrical Kashmiri accent, “As well as a large number of Federation starships.”
“Define actionable, and why?” Curry stated plainly. “Someone attack Khitomer again?”
He looked at the youth again who was fidgeting with the drink Taam had provided a moment ago.
“Mr. Nhot. If you would please.” The Admiral bowed to the youth who stumbled into a nervous stand. In the face of the three officers, he attempted to look mean but it was bought by none. When Shiloh rolled his shoulders, the Acamarian went into action. He moved until he was nearly in the hologram of the Nebula.
“It’s about here,” he pointed inside the nebula. “About 2.1 million kellikams inside.”
“What is it?” Shiloh rumbled in his deep, nearly-base baritone.
Curry scowled, “The Klingons have no claim to the Azure Nebula. It’s part of the Raeyan Triangle. It’s demilitarized. and it doesn’t take a fleet to chase down the Syndicate.” Shiloh impatiently looked at his XO who looked on with muted curiosity. “If we could stop with the slow-walking and get to the point. Why’s my ship been pulled off from our conference on Ramatis? We’ve got supplies for T&CC due on Carnac IV in two weeks.”
“This takes precedent over Terraform and Colonization Command’s needs. Mr. Nhot,” He gestured at the far screen, “Was in the region of this base and noted Klingon activity.” Taam looked at the boy who nodded, shifting eyes between the Trill and the Human. “Draw the symbol you saw on the ships if you’d be so kind, Mr. Nhot.” The Acamarian assented his head once again and approached the screen. He used his finger, roughly drawing a symbol.
Shiloh Curry spoke up first, with a hard sigh, “The Mo’Kai.”
Arjaal Taam nodded his aged head, “Starfleet Intelligence believes they may be using the Azure Nebula and its status as a demilitarized zone as a base outside of the reach of the High Council.”
Curry looked at the Acamarian youth, his face blotched by the lavenders and blues of the nebula. “If we attack that station, we are declaring war on the Mo’Kai.”
Arjaal conceded that with the incline of his head, “Perhaps. However, we have the support of the Klingon High Council. They are aware of this action. They agree that the presence of the Mo’Kai is unlawful according to the Khitomer Accords. It’s a potential threat not only to us but to them and the Romulan Republic.”
“And they’re sending ships… three ships.” Shiloh walked back. “That seems piecemeal.”
“The Klingons are there to observe,” Taam pointed out, “It puts the Mo’Kai in the complex predicament of having to explain their actions taken without the sanction of the High Council.” The Trill gestured and the image of the nebula disappeared. “My hope is that this is a check action, not a bloodbath. Show the Mo’Kai we know and allow them to withdraw. From there it becomes an internal affair of the Klingon Empire.”
“The Mo’Kai,” Singh said after she hummed in her throat, “Will challenge this with their representative on the High Council. Through personal combat. These accusations have been made before. Kayal of House Mo’Kai is an expert duelist. He’s already killed three Council members who spoke evidence against his House.”
“When do I get my latinum?” The Acamarian spoke up, shifting eyes between the three Starfleet officers. The Admiral smiled to himself, raising an almost erudite eyebrow. He raised a finger for patience at the young man.
“Ousting the Mo’Kai presence in the Nebula is only partly why we are here. Starfleet is re-activating Task Force 86. And we need a forward operating base.”
Curry’s brows popped, furrowing his brows, “About damned time on that. So… what’s the plan?”
“Take the station away from the Mo’Kai is our first priority. After that, it becomes an internal affair of the Klingon Empire. But it is proof- and hard to dismiss as well- that the Mo’Kai are acting in contravention of the Accords. Second, if the base is usable, it becomes our forward operating base. At least until the Corps of Engineers can build us something to Starfleet spec.”
The comm channel opened with a chime, “Admiral, Captain. We are approaching the coordinates.”
Shiloh straightened at that, one eye narrowing. The Admiral gestured for them to use the door.
“Oh and Commander,” Taam tugged on his tunic. He leaned in toward the Sikh woman’s space, “Kindly set a guard on Mr. Nhot. He’s not to leave for his shuttle until we guarantee this isn’t a fabrication.” The Sikh nodded, looking at the security officer at Tactical while the doors to the Ready Room closed behind her.
Tactical met her gaze while she was calling out data, “Sirs, starships Boadicea, Brahe, Clarke, Denver, Edison, Gral, Mercury, Sirat and Tiananmen have just dropped out of warp. Starships Cornwell, Perth and Reliant are about 15 AU out.”
“Where are the Klingons?” Curry asked, twisting to look at his Tactical officer. She was being relieved by another, a Tellarite female. Her cloven fingers tapped at the controls, white-blonde hair dusting over the glossy black. The Telalrite snorted.
“Klingon warships Bortas, Qlaa and Rataar are 165,000 kilometers off the nebula’s spinward side. They are still in Klingon space.”
“As well they should be,” the Admiral said with a narrowing of his eye. His brow rose, “Well.” He rolled a finger at Tactical, “If you would please. Open a hailing frequency.” The Trill squared his shoulders and faced the screen, clasping his hands behind his back. Once he heard the chirp he spoke, “This is Rear Admiral Arjaal Taam aboard the Federation starship Václav Havel. The fleet will converge and surround target at the following coordinates. If you are fired upon, you will return fire. If vessels are seen fleeing for the Klingon border, allow them to leave. Shields and sensors will be dramatically reduced inside the Nebula, though that is true of the station as well. Transporters will, likewise, be limited in range, so we will be docking. Once the perimeter is secure, prepare boarding parties to take the station. Taam out.”
“The fleets acknowledged and is standing by,” Shiloh said from his command chair. “Tactical, arm phasers and quantum torpedoes. Tell the shuttlebay to get shuttlecrafts La Plata and Duwamish ready for launch.”
“Taam to all ships: You may engage.”
In late May of 2020, the Bravo Fleet Admiralty decided to move forward on splitting Task Force 86 off of Task Force 93, which was previously all of the Beta Quadrant. Task Force 86 encompasses all Federation territory “rimward” of the Romulan Republic, and “Spinward” of the Alpha-Beta Quadrant line (roughly the location of Sol). This includes a small portion of the Romulan Republic, the “Raeyan Triangle,” Klingon space, Gorn space and Metron space.
Re-Establishing Task Force 86 and Task Force Canon
The opening of January 2399 in Task Force 86 deals with the themes of deprivation, resource scarcity, native distrust and a destabilizing border. Over the last fourteen years, Starfleet’s resources have been thinned- the destruction of Mars and the loss of Utopia Planitia greatly slowed the Federation’s efforts to rebuild post-Dominion War. With the Klingons as allies and the Gorn seemingly quiet, Starfleet pulled as many resources as possible to continue helping the Cardassians rebuild, and dealing with the Romulan supernova event. Starfleet’s presence along the Klingon border, until recently, has been skeletal.
After the bombing of Khitomer’s conference, Starfleet re-examined its role and the mounting challenges in the theatre: Nausicaa is once again in Anarchy as the Kratic has fallen (again). The factions are arming for war and Nausicaan civil wars do not stay contained to Nausicaa. Already, piracy has increased enormously. The Vaj on Kolar in the Orion Borderlands has collapsed, ending the twelfth Thakolarivaj and officially entering the Twelfth Orion Interregnum. The Orion Syndicate has sensed an opportunity and has made inroads to control the provisional government there, vastly increasing its regional assets. The Yridian information cartel Soal Qonsur has used the last fourteen years to increase their own influence.
But the greatest potential threat is from the Klingons themselves. As Martok ages and his son Drex is seen as a mediocre successor, some Klingons have drifted to the promises of the former Sovereignty of Kahless. The House of Mo’Kai stands for returning to the Old Ways- and that is a threat to the Khitomer Accords. Officially, this is an internal affair of the Klingon Empire, but the Federation recognizes what is at stake here. Both Chancellor Martok and Emperor Kahless are old men and younger warriors are sniffing for opportunity.
Task Groups and 86’s Fics on Relay Station Bravo
Task Force 86 has four Task Groups. Task Group Athos encompasses the Coreward Klingon border and the Raeyan Triangle. It is the access route to Task Group Aramis and the Reliquary. Task Group Porthos, based around Archanis, is stationed near the more stable Klingon border, though they must contend with the Nausicaans and the Orion Borderlands. But with this stability, the Klingon Empire allows Federations ships to traverse its territory to explore the Rimward and Spinward Klingon frontiers- as long as no expansion or colonization takes place.
The Hypatia is a long-running Sim that moved from Task Force 25 to its new location in Task Group Aramis. There, it is currently supporting Starfleet’s efforts in establishing a presence near the Reliquary. Hypatia is captained by Task Force 86’s Executive Officer, Nate and is currently rated PG-13.
Hawkeye Island has been revamped and returned to Bravo Fleet canon under Winters! This is a long-running sim and we hope to be able to breathe new life into it. Hawkeye Island is a large Starfleet facility on the planet Raeya III, near the Raeyan Triangle. There, they are trying to re-establish trust with the Raeyan government as Starfleet returns to the theatre.
Next month, TF 86’s July Report will be turning the spotlight on a troubling phenomenon around the “coreward” portion of the Klingon Empire: two Houses (one former) of the Empire are engaging in acts of rebellion against the High Council: House Mo’Kai seeks to return to the “Old Ways” and House D’Ghor- calling themselves the Hunters of D’Ghor– have taken to raiding and hunting alien, Federation, Romulan and Klingon vessels for sport. They have returned to the pre-Empire ways of trophy hunting that was a common trait of the D’Ghor. These two forces pose the greatest threat to what may be one of the most enlightening scientific discoveries since the Iconian ruins: the exploration of the Reliquary.
Also next time, TF86 hopes to provide an expanded TF 86 map that encompasses the entirety of the Klingon Empire!