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Official Lore Office post from Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

Hands On

USS Caliburn, Deneb Sector
March 2401
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‘Analysis is very clear, sir.’ Commander Vorin looked almost apologetic as she turned from the sensor feed. ‘Those ships are Dominion. Jem’Hadar fighters matching all of our records.’

Captain Kehinde Hargreaves of the USS Caliburn folded his arms across his chest. His instinct was to push back, dismiss these findings as erroneous or misinterpreted. But he hadn’t been sent here to take the easy road. Fourth Fleet Command wanted answers. So he took pains to exorcise the doubt from his voice as he said, thoughtfully, ‘There remains the possibility that the Breen had Dominion materiel after the war. Or even ship-building facilities.’

His XO padded over from the science console to join him at the bridge’s three command chairs. ‘Possible, sir, but these ships match war-era specifications exactly. There is no sign of Breen technology; no sign that they have been modified or updated. It would be highly unlikely for the Confederacy to maintain these ships to that standard.’

‘I hear you,’ Hargreaves said to the wiry Andorian. ‘But something highly unlikely has happened.’ He looked to his Science Officer. ‘Are they still holding position on long-range sensors?’

‘Affirmative,’ said the young lieutenant. ‘There’s no sign they’ve noticed us, sir. Their sensors don’t seem to be able to pierce the nebula’s interference.’

‘Starfleet Research and Development win again,’ said Hargreaves with a tight, proud smile. ‘If these ships are a quarter-century old, we must make use of every technological advantage we have. Speaking of, Lieutenant: how close do we need to be for quantum-level analysis?’

‘Closer,’ came the apprehensive answer. ‘Plotting a course to get us as near as possible while still shrouded by the nebula.’

Commander Vorin took a step closer to Hargreaves and dropped her voice. ‘The sensor packages sent from Izar support the Lost Fleet theory, Captain.’

She was speaking quietly, he knew, because she didn’t want the others to think they were risking their lives unnecessarily. Hargreaves matched her tone as he turned to her. ‘Those scans were conducted by border cutters and pleasure liners. This is a Sagan-class starship, and we have the most sophisticated scanning hardware in the fleet aboard. We have to be sure.’

‘Course plotted,’ called Science, and Vorin simply nodded and stepped back.

Hargreaves’ eyes raked across the navigational data on the small display on his command seat’s armrest. He nodded. ‘Helm, take us in.’

The Caliburn’s deck hummed as they moved, the gentle interference of the nebula with the impulse engines giving a bumpier ride than their usual smooth-as-glass motion. It didn’t help ease the thudding of Hargreaves’s heart in his chest, and he had to fight the urge to pace. His crew did not need to see his nerves.

‘We’re in range,’ Science said after iron-shredding minutes. ‘Beginning scans -’

Contact!’ came the bark from the bridge’s aft, and Hargreaves’s head snapped around towards his Tactical Officer. ‘Ships approaching, bearing eighty-five mark one-five!’

‘They’ve come out of a cluster of chromium!’ Science said, young voice again showing a flicker of fear now. ‘They must have been powered down so they couldn’t detect us…’

They were waiting for us. Hargreaves swallowed hard. Whether the enemy had known they were coming or simply setting up a watch on a known blindspot like the Ciater Nebula was beside the point. They were here now.

His XO was already stepping into the vaults of uncertainty. ‘We can analyse later; what are they, Lieutenant?’

‘More Jem’Hadar Fighters, sir. Three.’

‘Red alert! On screen!’ barked Hargreaves, but as the lights dimmed and the viewscreen flooded to life to show the approach trio of beetle-like ships, tiny pinpricks of purple light amid the swirling maelstrom of the nebula, he turned to Helm. ‘Get us out of here.’ He had no doubt the Caliburn could take on three old ships like this. But a force like this wouldn’t be alone – would surely soon be joined by the two fighters they’d been spying on. And countless others.

‘Aye, sir! Coming about and heading back into the nebula! We’ll lose them in the mists.’

‘They’re approaching fast,’ warned the tactical officer. ‘Weapons charged.’

‘We’ll lose them,’ Hargreaves said, a little more confident than he felt as he sank back onto his command chair, gripping the armrests tight. ‘But we might have to bloody them first.’


‘The Caliburn sustained significant damage from the Jem’Hadar fighters. But they managed to lose them in the Ciater Nebula and returned to Farpoint without any further encounters.’ Vice Admiral Beckett reached up to swipe the holographic projection away from the centre of the desk, clearing the view between the two men.

Fleet Admiral Ramar steepled his fingers as he frowned at the nothingness where the battle report had hovered moments ago. ‘And no Breen ships accompanying them? That’s a considerable amount of leftover equipment for the Confederacy to retain.’

‘If I may, sir.’ Beckett lifted a hand. Normally he would have jumped up and down at the opportunity to reveal more information, to show he still knew more than everyone else, especially the fleet commander. His sombreness spoke of the severity of this issue. ‘Captain Hargreaves’s science officer also managed to complete quantum scans before they escaped.’

The next projection sprang to life between them with the full report from the science department of the USS Hargreaves, supported by further analysis by Admiral Beckett’s own science team. Ramar’s frown deepened. ‘So it is true.’

‘These ships are from 2374,’ Beckett surmised bluntly. ‘Now we have the evidence to take this to Command, force them to recognise that this isn’t a glorified Breen raid with stolen Dominion equipment…’

‘No.’

Ramar’s voice was so soft that Beckett almost didn’t hear it. When he did, he rose to his feet, incensed. ‘Worlds are being conquered! Izar has fallen! This isn’t just Command failing to recognise who’s responsible, it’s Command failing to recognise the magnitude of this -’

‘I’ve had these arguments with Command.’ Ramar looked up at him impassively. ‘You know how that’s gone before. Are you so naive, Alexander, to think it’ll be any different this time?’ Being called ‘naive’ startled Beckett enough to make him fall silent. Later he would reflect that this was probably Ramar’s intention, as it gave the fleet admiral the chance to press on. ‘Starfleet Command would rather ignore trouble at the gates while we make ready for Frontier Day.’

Beckett couldn’t help but sneer at that. ‘Heaven forfend the exercise in waving the flag be disrupted.’

Ramar gave a low, humourless chuckle, but it didn’t last as he sobered. He reached out to the control panel on his desk to open a channel to his yeoman sat outside. ‘Get me Admiral Dahlgren,’ came the curt instruction. ‘And tell him we’re going to assemble the fleet.’

Beckett frowned as Ramar leaned back, chin tilting up a half-inch. ‘Sir? Starfleet Command has made it very clear they won’t send reinforcements to Task Group 514.’

Ramar gave a tight, satisfied smirk. ‘Then it’s just as well the Fourth Fleet has a mandate to go anywhere in the galaxy, as I see fit. And it just so happens I see fit for us to make for the Deneb Sector. Pack your bags, Alexander. You’re headed for Farpoint and we’re taking the fight to the Lost Fleet ourselves.’ Now he sobered. ‘I think you understand, better than anyone, why we have to be hands-on about this.’

There was a moment where Beckett worked his jaw, the surging elation and satisfaction fighting with his creeping apprehension. ‘Can we trust even our own captains to not be compromised?’

With a sigh, Ramar shook his head. ‘If we can’t trust the Fourth Fleet,’ he said at last, ‘who can we trust?’

Comments

  • WOAH! What a post. I loved every second. Having a Sagan, I was thrilled to see Caliburn in action and notice that she's going for a similar approach to what I have started for my own first post. The danger of the Dominion ships, despite their age, is a great foreshadowing for the rest of us. Many of us still have ships of that era, so the stakes are heightened even more for those with less advanced ships than us lucky few. Then we move into our Admirals, and the contrast in demeanours from both is good to see. I'm with Beckett on being angry at Command, but the cool head of Ramar, and his unique directive to send the 4th Fleet where he sees fit may just save the day in the end. Frontier Day?! Bah. Not like that's important or anything... *shifty eyes*

    May 5, 2023
  • Unknown Author

    I enjoyed this story. It is giving me ideas about my own stories that I will be writing today and hoow I want my crew to encounter the Lost Fleet. "Worlds have been conquered" gives a great impression of how fast the Lost Fleet moves into a system and deploys forces. A great introduction to the crisis and the viewpoint of the Forth Fleet. Again, it shows the reluctance of Starfleet to get engaged in situations that could lead to war and it takes a few brave officers to act to save it.

    May 9, 2023