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Part of Starbase Bravo: Sundered Wings and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? (Briefing)

Starbase Bravo - Executive Conference Room 27C
May 2400
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One of the many benefits of being the duty station for a fleet admiral–and often more than one–was that some of the tiresome aspects of protocol related to arrivals and departures at Starbase 4 were observed in the breach rather than the observance. Even full ambassadors were only rarely treated to the actual red carpet, honor guard, and Starfleet band extravaganza that protocol would demand for them on a less important starbase. 

By Vice Admiral Belvedere’s count, the crisis meeting that he was rushing to had no less than ten stars worth of flag officers, consular officials, and ministers. If each of them had been given their due ruffles and flourishes, bosun’s call, and assorted pomp and circumstance, the crisis would have been long over before the meeting itself.

“Commander, are you sure that there is no way you couldn’t deputize for me just this once?” Belvedere asked as he and his new aide walked down the hall from his office suite to one of the smaller conference rooms. It was a meeting of just twelve, so there was no need to reserve one of the large briefing halls. “I think I’d rather let the dust settle and read the after-action report.”

“I’m afraid not, Sir. Vice Admiral Dahlgren insisted on principals and aides for this one,” the young man replied, shaking his head. “Are you expecting fireworks?”

Belvedere chuckled gravely. “Given the topic of the meeting? Absolutely.”

The conference table had been expanded to its full size, with additional leaves sliding into place through an elaborate system built into the floor that allowed the table to seat anywhere from four to twelve. Thankfully, holographic nameplates had been activated; Belvedere considered his own ability to keep an ear to the ground on the political situation to be up there with the best, but he would be hard pressed to remember the name of the Fourth Fleet’s Assistant Deputy Commander for Administration, let alone the lieutenant assisting him. 

Dahlgren was the last to arrive, with his own aide in tow. Young for a three-star admiral at just 52, the Deputy Commander of the Fourth Fleet was charismatic, ambitious, and whip-smart. For Belvedere, his presence was also one of the downsides of Starbase 4 playing host to the Fourth Fleet. While his predecessor, Fleet Admiral Wolf, had been content to leave Belvedere to his own devices, this one was much more “hands-on” in a way that irked him. 

“Let’s get right down to it,” he said, slipping into the seat opposite Belvedere and pulling up a map of Romulan space on the holographic viewer. “In eighteen hours, this base is going to be the host of a crisis summit. Representatives from the Romulan Free State and the Romulan Republic, two purported representatives of the collapsing Romulan Star Empire, and representatives from half a dozen Romulan splinter factions. The Velorum sector block wants out, and no one’s particularly excited to support that idea,” the admiral explained.

Dahlgren’s aide cleared his throat. “Klingons,” Belvedere heard him whisper.

“Yes, thank you, Park. The Klingons are also sending a delegation, and we’ve received a report that the Kzinti may just drop by as well,” Dahlgren said. “Now, on the surface, I don’t think twenty or thirty parties at a conference is all that challenging, but it’s up to us to ensure that their retinues don’t end up killing each other–let alone the ambassadors.”

“Perhaps my head of security would be better suited for this meeting?” Belvedere suggested.

“I’m sure you can handle briefing your own staff, Admiral Belvedere. I’d rather this not appear to be an all-hands-on-deck situation, even if it turns into one,” Dahlgren clarified. “Along with the diplomatic situation, we are expecting another wave of refugees from Romulan space.”

Governor Tarsi Valinora shared a look with her aide, which Belvedere assumed was to express a telepathic burst of outrage at the idea of more refugees pouring into the Mellstoxx system.

“We are still finding homes and supplies for those who have ended up on our colony’s doorstep since the Century Storm, Admiral. I hope you mean to say that they will remain aboard the station,” the governor said sternly.

“I can’t predict the future, Governor. I hope you don’t mean to say that Mellstoxx III won’t honor her obligations, though. The Federation Charter is very clear in this regard,” Dahlgren chided. “The Corps of Engineers will be sending multiple teams to assist with any necessary construction.”

“Of course not… I’m just concerned that we continue to be the front door to the Federation when there are so many other worlds in the region that could also handle more refugees,” Valinora replied.

“And they will be, Governor.”

“I’ll prepare our medical facilities to expect incoming with injuries, psychological trauma, and malnutrition,” Rear Admiral Linda Stanton-Knox chimed in; she was the Fourth Fleet’s Surgeon-General, and her presence at the meeting suddenly made sense for Belvedere.

Belvedere rapped his fingers on the table for a moment. “I believe it would be prudent to employ as many cadets as are available to help support engineering and medical support tasks. The starbase crew will have their hands full with the summit and any other arrivals,” he noted.

Dahlgren nodded. “Whatever you think is best,” he replied; his quick assent somehow managed to annoy Belvedere more than pushback might have. “Let’s get to work, people.”

Comments

  • As someone just coming to Bravo, this was a great set up for the issue at hand, as well as a quick painting of the political, social, and resource-based difficulties being faced by everyone in the sector. There's good character work here, it feels very much like the opening minutes of a Trek episode, following Belvedere's reluctant entrance to the pressure of the meeting. The tension between him and Dahlgren was played well, with Dahlgren acting just breezy enough to be irritating and further solidify the reader's perspective that Belvedere is right about him (while also making it enjoyable to see Belvedere ruffled a bit). The OOC information about the mission is highly useful of course, but this post just added so much flavor and character to it, and sets things up really well.

    June 4, 2022