“The Guardians of the Gate”
When the Arcturus came through the wormhole with the Apollo, everything was wrong. They had known that something was amiss when the relay on the other side was only reporting a “link established” status, rather than telling them to proceed or not proceed, so they had waited until the very last second to pass through the opening when nothing came. It was immediately clear why when they saw Starbase 38 swarmed with Breen fighters as Ocanti vessels and its own fleet of runabouts attempted to engage them. The massive shield bubble being projected by the Guardian-class station was entirely lit up as plasma discharges slammed into it.
Reserved and experienced, there was little that shook Elizabeth Hayden. As a fleet captain, she had seen everything–or at least the thought she’d done until she saw the Sovereign-class Seleya burning with green plasma fires out of control as she launched escape pods. The Challenger-class Shahid exploded with the blinding flash of a warp core breach before she could do the same, leaving just the Excelsior-class Hephaestion, Admiral Knox’s flagship, as the last ship standing between a massive Breen dreadnought and the station.
“Red Alert! Mr. Lancaster, take command of the support ship and go with the Apollo engage those fighters. We’re going after the dreadnought. Helm, I want this ship in between the Admiral and the Breen now,” Hayden ordered, standing up from her chair out of sheer shock at the site before her. The lighting immediately shifted and moments later she heard the whine of the bridge’s dedicated transporter platform engaging as her XO moved to take command of their Aquarius-class support ship, Hokule’a. “Status report!”
“Communications are being jammed, but it appears as though the starbase shields are holding for the moment. The Hephaestion is engaging the enemy ship, but their shields are holding as well. I’m detecting a massive energy buildup in the forward section of the Breen ship; it matches the signature of the fires aboard the Seleya and they’re aiming at the starbase,” her tactical officer replied. “2 minutes to weapons range, Captain.”
“Cut through the interference! That’s the whole point of having a starbase-sized transceiver aboard this ship,” Hayden ordered.
“Captain! The Hephaestion is launching escape pods and shuttles. They don’t appear to have suffered any damage,” Commander Alesser at operations reported. “The shuttles are towing the the Seleya‘s pods on their way out as well.”
Hayden’s heart sunk. What could that mean other than something extremely dire? “She’s turning away from the Breen. Good. Prepare to open fire,” she replied, turning to sit back down.
“She’s not, sir!” Alesser corrected, prompting Hayden to turn in horror as the Hephaestion’s impulse engines began to glow as she built up speed, accelerating around her turn to come back to face the Breen ship. “Detecting one life sign aboard. It’s the Admiral.”
“Get him out of there!”
The bridge went deadly silent when the Excelsior-class ship pushed its engines to the limit and impacted the Breen ship. The heavy cruiser was instantly vaporized when over six and a half million metric tons hit the enemy ship at half the speed of light, sending trillions of megajoules worth of energy through its shields and structural integrity systems, instantly crippling it, cleaving the odd, partially-biological ship in half. Hayden slunk into the chair, the weight of Knox’s death hitting her with full force immediately. They’d served together as lieutenants and he’d been a good commanding officer as well as a friend.
“Target the remaining Breen ships and engage with maximum prejudice,” Hayden ordered, darkly. “Phasers to maximum range and automated targeting.”
In the end, the destruction of the Hephaestion and the death of Vice Admiral Jonathan Knox saved the 85,000 souls that lived on Starbase 38. According to the data collected during the battle, the advanced energy weapon in use aboard the Breen dreadnought was a plasma weapon enhanced with polaron sheathing from Dominion technology and it would have stripped the station’s shields like wind blowing through sand. The station would have immediately been exposed to plasma beam damage and the direct attacks of the fighters. He was certifiably a hero for managing to evacuate his entire crew without a single casualty, though the Shahid was lost with all hands and over 200 of the Seleya‘s crew died in the evacuation. Half of the Octanti ships were destroyed as well, but the battle had brought the two peoples closer together and had endeared them to the Barzans on the planet below.
In March 2399, it was decided that Task Force 9 would be reactivated in the coreward half of the Federation’s Alpha Quadrant space, to ensure that such a battle would never occur again. Long had the Federation council tolerated the predations of Breen raiders along the border, but this was the final straw. The Guardians of the Gate under the newly-promoted Rear Admiral Elizabeth Hayden would put a stop to it.
General Canon Updates
We are still in the process of getting everything sorted for our canon, but Task Force 9 will primarily be dealing with the Breen, the Kzinti, the Ferengi, and the Tzenkethi, apart from numerous unaffiliated planets and powers near and within Federation space. Our primary charge is protecting Federation space from incursions, but we also have activated Task Group 21 as a long-range exploratory group past Breen space, both to carry out Starfleet’s primary mission but also to identify allies and resources beyond our own space to help with the conflict with the Breen. This conflict could best be described as a very warm cold war, as the Breen are not unified and individual raids are difficult to attribute to specific Thots or the central government.
Task Force 9 is headquartered at the recently renamed Guardian Station, aka Starbase 90.
We have, however, finished our map, thanks to the wonderful talent of Task Force 86’s KyleB!
I want to welcome Jake who will be taking command of the USS Cygnus, the first of our pre-made games. This Nebula-class heavy cruiser has been in service for several decades and has been assigned to patrol along the Breen border. The concept of the game is that the crew will be experiencing the life of a typical Starfleet crew in a rough area of space. Jake will be running the day-to-day part of the game and recruit a crew while getting support from the TF staff for growth. We will also be helping manage the game’s website and providing guidance on mission ideas, as a new concept in how a sim can get started in Bravo Fleet. We plan on having further premade games open in the next few weeks and months, which will be listed as open commands on the BFMS with links to pre-built Nova sites.
Long a feature of Breen stories in Bravo Fleet, I am stoked to announce that Roosevelt Station is returning under Tia, our very own Loremaster! This base is built into an asteroid that was formerly a Breen mining facility. It was abandoned when the borders shifted and has been taken up by Starfleet nominally as a communications relay, but in reality, is a sophisticated listening post. It will serve as the tip of the spear for Starfleet’s efforts in the Deneb Sector and life here will not be easy.
Finally, I am pleased to also announce that Vince, yes that Vince, has decided to open up a new game as well: the USS Venture, which will be posted along the coreward expanse of neutral space past the Federation border on a long-range exploratory mission. he Venture is primarily responsible for deep space exploration and scientific discoveries throughout our galaxy. These missions include, but are not limited to: scientific discovery, first contact assignments, discovering new life and new civilizations, deep space incursions, and tactical assignments.