The day was nearly over and it had been more eventful than the Captain had anticipated when she had first woken up. She had intended it to be a quiet one by her standards, with little for her to do but continue to trawl through reports and personnel files after the mad few days of changes. Instead, she had given her crew a night of frivolity in the Wayward Traveller with movie night, but that had been spoiled by the announcement that two officers were to arrive shortly, and rumour had it they were bringing grave news.
Nervously pacing the ready room, the captain had been joined by her XO, sat on the sofa and watching the captain with great interest. This was the first time Vasoch had really had the opportunity to see the woman in true ‘command’ mode, and it was clear she was nervous.
“Whatever or whoever walks through that door, we’ll deal with it together,” he spoke in his gruff tone, running a hand through his beard as he looked over at her. They certainly had their differences, and he didn’t particularly like her, but he had agreed to stay and support her (at least through this period of transition), and he stuck to his word. He would give her his all for as long as he held the position of executive officer.
Stopping behind her desk chair, she folded her arms across her chest and aimed a smile of appreciation in the Tellarite’s direction. A sign of a mutual thawing of tensions, perhaps?
Soon enough, the doors to the office parted and granted entrance to a security officer, a dark-skinned Commodore, and a familiar face. She stepped up to the desk and offered a hand to the Commodore as she nodded to the security officer for him to wait outside.
“Commodore Ekwueme,” she welcomed him with a polite nod and a firm handshake, “welcome to the Temeraire, sir.”
“Captain sh’Elas, a pleasure,” Ekwueme responded in his thick Nigerian accent before releasing his subordinates hand and gesturing to the Vulcan beside him. “Captain, may I introduce you to one of my Strategic Operations officers, Lieutenant Commander T’Prynn,” the African man revealed.
T’Prynn gave the woman a measured look, one of the more annoying traits her race possessed, as if sizing up and seeing if she measured up to standards that her new rank brought with it. After a few moments, she had apparently seen enough. Reaching out a hand the tall, slender Vulcan spoke, looking the Andorian directly in the eye, “It is agreeable to see you again, Captain.”
“A pleasure, Commander,” Tharia nodded, taking the hand and shaking it, before elaborating for the two confused gentlemen in the room. “Commander T’Prynn served briefly aboard the Santa Fe under Captain Farrell,” the Andorian smiled, then gestured to the Tellarite rising to his feet. “Commodore, Commander. This is my executive officer, Commander Vasoch Gor,” introducing the man who joined them at the desk, she completed the round of welcomes and gestured for the officers to take a seat.
“Commander. I’ve heard good things about you from Captain Ruas,” Ekwueme smiled as he nodded respectfully to the older Tellarite, “And given the developing situation, I am certain that Captain sh’Elas will be appreciative of having an experienced hand at her side.”
“I live to serve,” Vasoch gave the Commodore a single nod of acknowledgement and thanks for his words, then took his own seat opposite the Captain.
“Speaking of which,” Tharia spoke as she took her own seat at the table, “what exactly is this situation that is developing?”
Commodore Ekwueme let out a sigh and shook his head, “Nothing short of a military coup on Rator. Our intelligence agents were slow in getting the information out, but as of five days ago, the Romulan Star Empire, or what’s left of it, is in a state of civil war,” he briefed the officers solemnly.
That certainly piqued the curiosity of the Temeraire faithful as they each sat forward in their chairs and exchanged brief glances. The last time Romulan space dissolved into such chaos was following the supernova of ‘87.
Now T’Prynn spoke up, at the non-verbal behest of the Commodore. “Many on Rator have fled. Some have fled into the area of space controlled by the Romulan Free State, others have fled to the growing Romulan Republic. The greatest concern we share is for that of the newly independent worlds,” the Vulcan passed a data PADD across the table to the captain. “Several dozen worlds bordering neither the Free State nor the Republic have declared their independence and are now on a precipice as they search for the means to lead to self-sufficiency.”
Tharia and her Tellarite executive listened in a state of shock, the captain only taking possession of the data PADD once the Vulcan seemed to have stopped talking.
“We’re going to give them those means,” Commodore Ekwueme smiled, passing the briefing over to T’Prynn again.
“The Romulan regional governor on Psi Velorum III was removed by their Reman workforce. A former mine worker known as Resak has been installed as acting-governor, and invited the entirety of the Velorum Sector to join in declaring independence from the Star Empire. Their now exists a new state apparently keen on respecting the rights and labour of Remans, Romulans, and other inhabitants alike,” she told.
“This is unbelievable,” Tharia muttered, clearly in a state of shock as she shook her head in an attempt to rid herself of the dark cloud that was gathering in her mind.
“It gets better,” Ekwueme responded, sitting forward and placing a hand on the captain’s desk. “This move presents us with a political minefield. The coup on Rator has de-legitimized any government of the Romulan Star Empire that may emerge. Starfleet Command and the Federation Council have concluded that non-interference by the Federation would not prevent extensive interference by any faction with an interest in the Velorum sector, none of whom would prioritise the self-determination of the system’s inhabitants. In short, they have decided the Prime Directive does not apply here, and have accepted Resak’s plea for assistance,” Sitting back in his chair, he looked at the Vulcan to continue.
“Starfleet Command is dispatching the Fourth Fleet to the Velorum sector to assist in establishing provisional governments and to help the region make plans for the future. A dedicated diplomatic delegation is also being dispatched to discuss any long-term relationship that may exist between Velorum and the Federation. It will be the role of the Fourth Fleet, of which Temeraire is a vital cog, to support the populace of the Velorum sector in their overall goal of enabling the region’s self-determination, as free as possible from external meddling,” finally, the Vulcan concluded her briefing.
“You can always rely on the Romulans to destabilise an already unstable situation even further,” Vasoch growled as he shook his head at the revelations from the two visitors to the ship. “Captain, we can be ready to go whenever you need,” he added.
“Temeraire will form part of a task group that will respond to the needs of the Kunhri system. As the largest vessel in the task group at present, Commander T’Prynn will travel with you and serve as Strategic Operations officer. She’ll be your link to me, and to command,” Ekwueme revealed in his thick accent. “She will report directly to you and your executive officer during her time aboard. Her security clearance grants her access to virtually everything you are likely to need in this mission, so I am sure she will not mind if you use her talents freely,” he smirked as he looked at the much prettier Vulcan.
Ordinarily, the Andorian would be more than a little upset at Starfleet interfering with her command in such a way, but even she could see the necessity of the situation. “You are most welcome, Commander,” the Andorian smiled, “Commander Gor; can you ensure our guest has the appropriate quarters and enter her arrival into the ship’s log. And with your permission sir, we’ll depart tomorrow morning.”
“That will be acceptable,” the Commodore agreed as he rose to his feet with a creek that he was sure the others would have heard. “If you need anything in the meantime, or while out there, let me know.”
“Aye sir,” the Commander nodded.
As the other two began to discuss more important matters, Vasoch and his Vulcan counterpart did as instructed. Standing, he nodded his farewell to the Admiral and to the Captain, and then led the Vulcan out of the room to find someone in ops.
With the two dismissed, the Admiral and the Captain made their way to the Andorian’s sofa to further discuss the mission at hand in greater privacy. Their conversation would take some time, but upon its conclusion she was left with the strongest belief that her crew would be the right ones to deal with the mission parameters.
At least if they made it out of spacedock tomorrow, anyway…