[Executive Suite, Starbase 60]
Commander Jonathan Bastin stepped into the antechamber of the Executive Suite that separated the corridor with the office of the individual Cmdr. Bastin was scheduled to meet. The Commander was rather nervous, since it was supposed to be a briefing that pertained to his recent appointment as a Commanding Officer. Years of being a diplomatic officer, meeting with all manner of dignitaries across dozens of star systems should have made a simple meeting with an Admiral seem rather easy in comparison, and yet Bastin couldn’t shake the apprehensive feelings that surrounded his entry into the antechamber.
A few friendly words to the Admiral’s aide was enough to prompt the door to open and the meeting to start in earnest. Taking his seat, Cmdr. Bastin waited for Rear Admiral Hawthorne to take a seat before engaging in the usual pleasantries that usually came with any such meeting. When they came to their natural end, the Admiral sitting in front of him drew herself up in a serious manner and began the meeting in earnest.
“What I’m about to relay to you is extremely sensitive in nature. The only reason you are being briefed it now is because of your appointment as a starship commander. In any other circumstance, you wouldn’t have been given this briefing until you made Admiral,” Hawthorne began, giving the briefing a sense of importance right from the start, “You are not to share the information you are about to receive with any member of your crew or any person who has not already been given this same briefing. Is that understood?”
“Yes, Admiral,” Bastin nodded soberly, already bracing himself for some manner of highly classified information.
“It is called the Omega Directive. Every vessel in Starfleet is equipped with the means to detect a particle we have named the Omega Particle. If that should happen, the vessel will go into an immediate lockdown. The only person who will know what is going on is you, as the ship’s Captain. No other member of the crew will be authorized access to any ship system until the incident involving these particles has been resolved,” the Admiral explained somewhat cryptically.
“And what, exactly, is an Omega Particle? I’m afraid science was not my strongest subject back at the Academy,” Bastin asked.
“To put it simply, they are the single greatest threat to space travel ever encountered. If they are allowed to destabilize, they can render warp travel in a given area impossible, effectively cutting that area off from any warp capable civilization permanently. Even one such particle can affect millions of kilometers of space… a chain reaction among even a dozen could render an entire quadrant unpassable. Worse yet, once they do so, there is no repairing the damage done…” Hawthorne elaborated.
Bastin sank back in his seat, the gravity of the information hitting him almost tangibly as he struggled to parse the information. Of all the things he had imagined the brief might entail, something like this hadn’t even been a part of his lofty expectations.
“Additionally,” the Admiral said once she’d given him a few moments to process the information, “This Directive supersedes all other directives, including the Prime Directive. Given just how dangerous these particles are, no sacrifice is too great to ensure that they are dealt with quickly and properly.”
Bastin’s face fell visibly upon hearing that. He’d never once imagined that the guiding principle of Starfleet, and perhaps the Federation itself, could be tossed aside so easily. Even his years of experience controlling his emotional responses wasn’t enough to mask the aversion he had with this news.
“I sympathize with your perspective, Commander, given your career thus far… But the truth of the matter is, we can often repair the damage a violation of the Prime Directive might do on a population, but we can never repair the damage done by even a single Omega Particle. If you encounter them, nothing else but their eradication is relevant… not your ship, your crew, or anyone caught in the middle. To preserve our way of life, and that of an untold number of future generations, there is no sacrifice too big to make,” the Admiral said with no hint of emotion beyond a terrible sense of resignation.
Cmdr. Bastin nodded slowly in understanding, though he wasn’t entirely certain he would be able to stomach such a choice should it be presented to him.
“There are additional provisions to the Omega Directive, but you will be able to read them at your leisure on your ship. Do you have any questions for me before you go?” Hawthorne asked, seemingly deciding that the conversation was over.
“Nothing at the moment,” Bastin said while still in a slight daze.
“It’s a lot to take in, but hopefully you will never need to act on this particular directive during your career,” the Admiral said, attempting some manner of consolation.
“I can only hope you’re right, Admiral…” Bastin heaved out a brief sigh before departing for his new ship, the burden of his new command already starting to weigh on him even before he set foot on the deck of his ship.