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Part of USS Dragonfly: Mission 2 – Undiscovered and Alone and Bravo Fleet: Labyrinth

UAA 006 – The Wrong and the Worry

USS Dragonfly
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“Where is the operations report?”  Captain Wren Walton stood in her quarters searching the dinner table of scattered PADDs for the elusive details from her Operations chief.  The day hadn’t slowed since they’d arrived in the system twelve hours ago, ostensibly to support three neighboring colonies who had been affected by the aperture nearby.  It had turned into a diplomatic nightmare.

“I’ve got it.”  Commander Park had her own array of PADDs on a nearby desk, her hair tightly tied in the back of her head, her eyes tired from sorting through the various requests from departments and colonies.  Her feet were sore from walking from one end of the Dragonfly to the other, not to mention the work on the colonies.  “I’ll continue to remind you never to send our Chief Diplomatic Officer off on an assignment.”

Wren groaned, “I know, I know. Not my greatest moment.  I put in a call for a support team – they’re scheduled to arrive in the morning.  I think I made Charlie’s team cry this afternoon.”  She accepted the operations report PADD and transferred the data into the larger report slated to be sent to Fourth Fleet Command.

Park tapped at two of the PADDs, “They’re resilient.  Miados is getting upset at how long it takes for supplies to arrive – most of it we can manufacture here.  It’s the critical replacements.”  She frowned at a third PADD, “You see this request from Carmichael?”  Wesley Carmichael was the administrator of one of the three colonies.  Primarily a human colony, it had started feuding with the second colony on the Dragonfly’s mission – and it was primarily a Cardassian colony.

Walton walked over and read it, her frown echoing her XO’s.  “He wants that kind of fuel?  They don’t have any equipment that requires that fuel, do they?”  She returned the PADD, picked one from the table, checked it, and then dropped it.  It took her three more until she found the device she sought.  She scanned the colony details and confirmed, “Nothing here about that fuel type. Most of their equipment is either supplied by solar energy or overnight battery systems.  Miados has a reactor on order to bridge that gap.”

Park wondered, “So why do they need that type of fuel?”  She tapped at her PADD, researching the fuel type and uses.  “Well, it’s an older fuel type…used in the older colonies for vehicle operations.  Oh, that’s not good.”  She walked over to her CO, “There have been isolated incidents where it has had incendiary uses…and not in a nice way.”

Wren muttered, “And us without a diplomatic team until morning.  When would it be here if you approved it?”  A plan was forming in her mind.

“Tomorrow afternoon. What are you thinking?”  Park suddenly became nervous. They weren’t far from Starfleet, but they were far enough that things could get exciting.

“Carmichael’s angling for something.  We’ve wondered about New Maquis sources and resources since they rose from the dead.  What if he’s a supplier?”  She pulled up a history of the colony, “He’s been the administrator for the last year.  Before that, he was a support agent in the warehouse for five years.”  She looked through the additional reports on his assignment to the elevated position.  “He was appointed by…a regional representative.  Who was then exposed as a changeling later, and the original was found dead.”  Wren tossed the PADD back on the table, “Starfleet didn’t follow up because we were busy enough with our own backyard.”

“You think Carmichael’s a Changeling?”

It had been Wren’s initial thought, but she wasn’t so sure now.  “If he was, he’d have figured the game was coming to him and ran as far as he could.  He didn’t.”  She looked at his history again.  “I think our man is just a guy who’s smart enough to be dangerous. He knows the colony and how it operates – he was a good middleman who pushed the buttons and threw the switches.  My guess is without his Changeling handler – he’s a free agent looking for a new friend or two.”

It was Park’s turn to groan, “We arrive willing to order everything under the sun, and he builds a grocery list.  I’ll check his previous requisitions – whatever he’s been getting from us is probably going elsewhere.”  She held a beat and asked, “Wren…you get the feeling the Dragonfly’s too big for us?”

Walton chewed on the question.  It had begun to bother her when they’d returned to the Alpha Quadrant.  She answered, “She’s got a lot going on, doesn’t she?”

“We went from 500 crew to over 800.  Departments doubled or even tripled.  Some of the senior staff is starting to wobble, Wren.”

She’d read between the lines on the reports.  It wasn’t new news to her, but that her XO was voicing the concerns – that was something new.  “Worse than the reports suggest?”

Park’s eyes previewed her answer, “It’s not getting better.  We’ve promoted deputy chiefs in all departments, but they’re new to leadership.  We’ve had some…small discipline issues.  I’m working with the deputy chief team, but we’ve had to go to daily meetings and mentorship discussions…and some of it’s not landing with all of them.”

Wren muttered, “Shit.”  She tossed the PADD back to the table and walked to the long couch, plopping down on one end.  Park joined her on the other end, folding up her legs underneath her.  Walton rubbed her eyes, “You think this was a bad idea?”

“I think someone thought it was a good idea.  Take a great crew and give them a bigger and better platform.  Put them in the middle of a place that needs the most help.  Go to work.”  She refilled her cup, “The thing is…we had about a solid crew on the Mack, for the most part.  After the transfers out and then adding the 300 – we lost something along the way.  And things got harder.”  She tossed back her drink, “We’ll survive…but if things don’t get better soon, I don’t know what kind of shape we’ll be in when this is all over.”

Wren felt some relief in their discussion.  Some, but not all.  “You think they’d give us the Mack back if we asked nicely?”  She knew what she thought the answer would be.

Park chuckled, “There would be a lot of questions.”  She looked at her friend and CO, “It wouldn’t look good on either of our records, Wren.  We’d be the team that failed to adapt to the bigger and better.  We failed to lead.”

“I’ve written my share of evaluations of officers with those words in my previous job.  I know what’s on the other end.  Having your words thrown back at you – that’s going to hurt.”  She downed her drink, grimacing at the burn.  “We’ll worry about how much they’ll take from us when we get to that bridge.  Let’s try and get our hands around this shit show before we move on to the next one.”

“Even if that bridge is on fire?”

“At least it’ll be warm.”

Comments

  • This is a wonderful character development where the Command Team reviews the current situations they had to dive deep into and deal with, more is going on that meets the eye and they have a lovely reflection on the choices they had to make. New crew, new positions, its biting the command team ass quite hard, but I bet they will manage. Great job!

    July 13, 2024