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Official Lore Office post from Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

When The Top Brass Assemble

Starbase Bravo, Mellstoxx system, Beta Quadrant
May 2400
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“Good evening everyone.” Fleet Admiral Ramar’s voice was gruff as he entered the large wardroom dedicated to operations of the Fourth Fleet and marched to assume his seat at the head of the table. At once the assembled were silent. “Interrupting your evenings was not planned, but we have a situation the Fourth Fleet’s being assigned to deal with.” If the regret at interruption was sincere, not many present believed it.

“Another galactic-scale event?” said Rear Admiral Dowd with wry humour. The stout sixty-year-old human man leaned further back than most around the table, his hands clasped together just above his stomach. It was the question on everyone’s minds with Ramar’s emphasis on ‘situation.’

Ramar shook his head. “Not quite as bad as last year’s fumble with Omega, Bob.” Rather than explain, his gaze fell pointedly on Vice Admiral Beckett.

With the press of a thumb on his PADD, Beckett brought to life the holographic display in the middle, the information repeated on the screens in front of each staffer. Multiple reports, images, and the latest deep-space sensor scans of the Beta Quadrant scrolled into view, the focus of all on the various Romulan states.

“Starfleet Intelligence has confirmed that in the last few days and weeks there has been a huge political shift in the Romulan Star Empire of Rator. Several outlying systems declared their independence, and the Star Navy was denied their request to retake them.”

Denied?” said Rear Admiral Virem, and Beckett gave a sigh at the interruption. She looked up from the images to catch his expression, before nodding for him to continue.

He drew a deep breath. “The Senate of Rator voted against sending a strike force to deal with the dissidents. Our sources tell us there was consensus that it would be too costly in resources and manpower, and stretch imperial defences too thin. We also suspect the Senate might have intended on giving those worlds enough rope to hang themselves with – let them fail in their independence, and retake them when opposition was lighter.” Beckett tapped another button, and the display shifted for the map of the Romulan Star Empire to change – its borders shrunk, worlds once within its grasp now lit up in red.

“They were wrong,” he continued. “The loss was considered intolerable by the ranking officers of the Star Navy and several aligned senators. They forcibly dissolved the Senate, and we expect the admiralty intended to restore it with more… agreeable membership.”

“Puppets for the military?” Vice Admiral Dahlgren checked.

“Perhaps,” Beckett allowed. “Or perhaps they sincerely wished for an independent government which just happened to share their ideologies. But their intentions, it seems, are to be lost in the chaos. Word of the takeover spread and this was condemned across the empire as a coup. The Romulan Star Empire is shattering as regional governors, dissenting military leaders, and planetary officials have condemned the Star Navy and the fledgling new senate, and are striking out on their own. A majority have declared their independence, some are rushing to the Free State, while a few have gone hat in hand to the Romulan Republic.” He tilted his head. “It is, to put it mildly, a shit-show.”

“And we get the honour of clearing it all up?” wondered Captain Stafford, glancing up from taking his notes.

“Somewhat.” It was Ramar who answered first. “A short while ago I spoke with Fleet Admiral Clancy, and this entire situation will only get worse if Starfleet crashes the party without an invitation.”

“But this briefing isn’t to tell us to wait for that invite,” Dahlgren pointed out, his level gaze on the fleet commander.

“We’ve at least got a foot in the door.” Ramar gave another nod to Beckett, who with a tap of his PADD zoomed the holo-display in on a section of the map of the collapsing Romulan Star Empire. “One region in old imperial borders, the Velorum Sector, has declared independence and specifically requested Federation aid.”

However,” said Beckett a little testily, as if anxious anyone would get too happy, “it isn’t that simple. The leadership of Velorum isn’t who anyone would have expected. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Resak, the new leader of the provisional government of Psi Velorum.” He nodded to the holo-display as an intelligence report, complete with grainy image, appeared.

Stafford blinked. “He’s Reman.”

“The Velorum Sector has a massive Reman population.” Beckett said this like it was obvious, and like he hadn’t set this up as an intentional surprise. “It’s a huge industrial and mining region, and they’re the main workforce.”

At last, Rear Admiral Marshall-Bennet spoke. “What do we know about Resak?”

Beckett shrugged. “Little to nothing. He was a pit boss and led the revolt of the Reman miners when order started to break down these last weeks. When he seized power, he encouraged others in the sector to join him in establishing a new state that put the rights of workers – Reman, Romulan, or otherwise – first.”

Bennet looked to Ramar. “This is where the Fourth Fleet comes in, then?”

The fleet commander nodded. “We’ve been assigned to respond to this request for help. The Velorum Sector wishes to establish independence, so we will provide humanitarian relief, security of their borders, and anything else they need a hand with.”

Virem frowned. “And the Prime Directive? Aren’t we involved ourselves in an internal matter for the Star Empire?”

“Not in this circumstance,” said Beckett before Ramar answered, always keen to know more than anyone else in the room. “Rator has fallen. The rejection of the new so-called senate by so many worlds makes their authority illegitimate. There is no state for us to interfere in the internal affairs of any more.”

“Instead, we’re answering a call for help,” Bennet mused.

“Yes,” said Ramar. “And I don’t need to tell you how vital it is that we get this right. Starfleet – the Federation – has a lot riding on this. The last time we promised to help the Romulan people, things went wrong. We’ve got a lot to prove.”

“Everyone will be keen to demand we do the right thing, and complain if we make the slightest mistake,” Beckett groaned with disapproval.

Bennet looked at him. “Do we know if Resak has approached the Free State or Republic?”

The intelligence director shrugged. “Officially he came to us first. Unofficially? Both sides are interested in this new faction. The Klingons, at least, are giving the Star Empire as a whole a wide berth – Qo’noS is too busy fighting about what to do to take any action.”

“For now,” Bennet muttered, and checked his PADD. “How many Task Forces do we need for this?”

“All of them,” said Beckett simply. “We’ve already detected refugees fleeing chaotic pockets of the empire, and a lot will have to pass through Velorum. Pirates and raiders will see this as an opportunity, and Intel is keeping a close eye on the Orion Syndicate. It’s a prize for any criminal organisation.”

“Regardless of us heading into Velorum, that could spill over to our borders,” Dahlgren pointed out. “Is there any word from any other worlds declaring independence?”

“We’re reaching out to them,” said Ramar, “but there’s a million different opinions and crises, with a million different ways to handle them.”

“Like I said,” Beckett drawled, “it’s a shit-show.”

“The Diplomatic Service is on this.” Ramar gave him a tense look. “We are hoping to gather representatives to discuss the ongoing situation, perhaps here on Bravo. Any more questions?” He glanced around, and gave a stern nod at the silence. “Good. Let’s get to work, and see if we can redeem ourselves.”

As the staff officers dispersed, Rear Admiral Bennet approached Vice Admiral Beckett, still gathering his paperwork. “So I can prepare our captains with what’s out there, how bad is this?”

Beckett gave a low scoff. “Was my summary unclear? It’s -”

“A real shit-show,” Bennet sighed. “That’s one way to look at it.”

The Director of Fourth Fleet Intelligence shrugged as the two men walked out of the doors and towards the myriad of tasks that came next in this latest assignment. “In this particular case, is there any other way?”