Starbase Bravo was among the largest and most important commands in Starfleet, not only being a central logistics hub in its own right but also the homeport for the Fourth Fleet. Seven wireframe schematics of starships were floating in front of the viewport in Vice Admiral Belvedere’s new office: the first brand-new vessels to leave Starbase Bravo’s shipyard after a year of operation. The belle of the ball was the Interceptor, an Inquiry-class heavy cruiser with a sleek, angular design that made it look like it was going at warp nine, even hanging there as a blueprint. It was the new command of the station’s previous first officer, who’d been rewarded with a command of her own after a year on the station.
Though a talented and decorated administrator, Belvedere himself had never ended up serving on a starship. His over forty years of service had been spent entirely on stations and at Starfleet Headquarters, where he’d earned a reputation as being assiduous, conservative, and highly resourceful. His third star in hand, he had few regrets about his career decisions, but he felt a momentary pang of regret at being desk-bound as he looked at the Interceptor.
The seven ships were scheduled to be launched about once every four days throughout the first month of 2400, each taking with her a chunk of the station’s crew. Over 300 on the Interceptor, and another 600 across the other six ships. Accompanying each vessel was a list in red showing which personnel were going where, along with a list in green showing where their replacements were coming from. It was less than one percent of the starbase’s total crew, counting the other stations in the system and the shore facilities, but getting 900 new crewmembers up to speed in less than four weeks could be a definite stumbling block for efficiency in Belvedere’s first month in command, especially considering that more than half of the senior staff were also rotating out into new assignments at the same time. The Columbia was also due to leave port and still had a number of lower decks billets to fill, meaning another hundred or so pulled from Starbase Bravo.
The door chimed.
“Enter!” Belvedere said, still flipping through the rosters. “In the future, we need to stagger these launches. This crew turn-over is unacceptable,” he said.
“Uh, yeah…,” came a meek response as he turned around.
He was expecting to see Lieutenant Commander Janssen, his latest flag aide. Janssen was tall, muscular, blond, and Dutch; the spitting image of someone whose job was mainly to look good holding a PADD in the background of formal events, but the person before him was quite the opposite: a willowy, nervous, and wide-eyed ensign in a red uniform.
“You are not my aide,” Belvedere noted, his eyes narrowing.
“No, sir,” the ensign agreed.
“Who are you?” the Admiral asked when the young man just blinked at him.
“Ensign Scott Bowens, sir. I’m your new Deck Officer.”
Belvedere sighed. “There are about four-hundred deck officers on this station, Ensign,” he explained, which caused Bowens to wilt a little. “That does not explain why you’re here.”
“Well, the lieutenant at the docking port said to report to my commanding officer,” Bowens said, cocking his head to the side, before grabbing his holo PADD. “Which I may have misinterpreted because you’re the commanding officer, not my commanding officer…”
“That sounds entirely plausible,” Belvedere replied dryly as he pulled up the display on his desk and quickly flipped through the scheduling system. “Conference Room 47. Two levels down. You’ll report to the Senior Officer of the Watch,” he said, torn between annoyance and amusement at having this bizarre encounter. He discreetly pulled the ensign’s file with his other hand out of sheer curiosity.
“Right. Conference Room 47. And he’ll tell me what a deck officer… does?” Bowens asked.
“You’ll mostly be telling other people where to go, which at this point based on your own navigational prowess seems a little problematic,” Belvedere quipped.
Bowens grinned. “I’m a really talented pilot, though. If you don’t think I’d be a good deck officer, you could put me on one of those ships. One less transfer to worry about,” he offered, nodding towards the display behind the admiral.
“That’s very bold, Ensign. How did you get in here, anyway?”
“Um… Through that door? I hit the chime,” Bowens said, pointing his thumb back towards a door that Belvedere had thought up to that point was a closet or storage locker. “That’s a no on a starship posting, right, sir?”
“That’s a definite ‘no,’” Belvedere confirmed, tapping the call button on his desk.
Lieutenant Commander Janssen appeared a few moments later, looking quite confused to see that Belvedere was not alone.
“Sir? How…? No one came through the outer office,” Janssen asked.
“Side door,” Belvedere said.
“I thought that was a closet,” Janssen muttered.
“Well, it’s not. Could you please make sure Ensign Bowens finds Conference Room 47? And then fix the security protocols on that door?” Belvedere ordered. “I’d rather not have further lost ensigns wandering in here.”
“Of course, Admiral. Apologies for the interruption,” Janssen replied, gesturing for Bowens to follow him out of the office.
“Sorry, sir. I’ll try to stay off your radar from now on,” Bowens replied.
Belvedere chuckled, the name suddenly clicking for him. “It’s a little late for that, Mr. Bowens. I’m very curious to see if you make as much a splash here as your brother did during the Archanis Campaign,” he said, after confirming that there was a relation on his terminal.
“How do you know about Harper, sir?”
“I know everything, Ensign. Make sure you spread the word of my magnanimity. Dismissed,” Belvedere said, smirking as the latest addition to his crew was ushered out.
Starbase Bravo In-Play for January 2400
- There’s a lot of turnover on Starbase Bravo. Maybe not proportionally (900 is less than 1 percent of 100,000 after all), but there are plenty of ways to explain how your character has come to serve on Starbase Bravo.
- Many ships are being launched this month, so departments will be busy with medical tests for the crews, fueling, logistics, calibrating their systems, and anything else you could imagine to get a ship ready to launch.
- Many of the senior command crew are new, so the average ‘being on the street’ might be curious about the new administration, not yet knowing much.
- If your character isn’t brand new, how do they feel about not getting placed on one of the ships? If they’re fresh from the academy, the same question applies: how do they feel about being put on a starbase rather than a starship?