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Part of USS Resolute: Protect Arriana and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

1 – And so it begins

Resolute
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It had been a long day. Pirates crawling all over his ship and impromptu bomb disposal. 

Raan sighed and leaned his head back against the plush headrest of his chair and let the sound of the lounge wash over him. 

Unlike on a bigger ship, the Resolute didn’t have a seperate lounge for senior officers, or even officers. Instead, the main lounge had been extended and they were all lumped in together, with a small section to the side of the bar with bigger, more luxurious chairs as a nod to a senior officer’s mess. 

Raan didn’t care about all that, that the ship didn’t have all the facilities most captain’s enjoyed. He liked… no, he preferred to be in amongst his crew. Looking around the room he saw faces he knew, people he knew. His crew was small and, apart from the new cohort they’d taken on at SB86 recently, he knew most of them well enough to enquire after family, or pets, or ask about their favourite hobbies. 

Today he knew new things about some of them. 

He lifted his glass and took a large swallow of the dark liquid within. Llanarian spiced rum, stocked especially for him. It wasn’t an expensive drink, a fact that had raised the ship’s quartermaster’s elegant brow when she’d ordered it. Apparently a captain should have more refined tastes than the gut-rot rum he’d drunk with his men in the trenches. 

But he didn’t and here they were. Him and his gut-rot watching his crew as they interacted in the lounge. 

Today he knew that Norman, the most nervous and accident-prone officer on the ship, had a hard core of heroism (or stupidity) that had made him throw himself over an unexploded grenade. Raan flexed his hand, still feeling the sting of the burn from the I-5 acid he’d had to use to disarm the thing even though their CMO had healed the injury hours ago. That was the thing about I-5 though, it caused phantom nerve pain for days after. 

He took another drink, feeling the burn all the way down to his stomach and smiled as Norman spotted him and raised his glass, a large whiskey (with standing orders from the captain that it was to be kept topped up and Norman was strictly off-duty tomorrow. There was absolutely no way Raan wanted to find out what trouble the most accident prone guy on the ship could cause when drunk or hungover). Raan raised his own glass in salute. He had no idea what had caused Norman to be a hero today, but now he knew Norman had it in him. He just needed the right circumstances to shine. And now Raan knew he had another ace up his sleeve, to be deployed when needed. 

His attention moved onto Rennox, his young yeoman, who was holding court in the other corner of the lounge with a harem comprising of the young women on the ship, and a fair few young men. After his defense of sickbay, it appeared Rennox had become somewhat of a legend among the younger members of the crew. 

Raan smiled as he took another drink. Before today, he’d had said Rennox couldn’t have fought his way out of a paperbag, both literally and in an administrative sense. Rennox’s work ethic was good, but he couldn’t file anything for shit. After today, Raan knew his talent’s lay elsewhere. Why the kid had taken a yeoman’s position, he had no clue. That was a puzzle for another day. 

His lips compressed as he lifted his glass to find it empty. Tonight’s puzzle was why his glass was empty and how quickly he could get it refilled. 

“Bridge to the captain,” Allen’s smooth voice sounded, interrupting his reverie. “We have a priority one communication coming through from Command for you, sir. It’s encrypted.”

Raan blinked, his brain taking a moment to process that information. Then he blinked again. So much for more rum. With a groan, he levered himself up out of his chair. 

“Route it through to my ready room,” he ordered. “I’m on my way.”

“Aye sir.”

Given the diminutive size of the Resolute, it didn’t take Raan long to reach his ready room. He ducked to avoid whacking his head on the sloping ceiling and dropped into the chair, which complained about his weight with a groan. 

Reaching forward, he tapped the waiting commlink. 

“Please enter command authorisation for priority one communication.” 

“Mason, Zebra-Delta-Three-Seven-India,” he replied and the screen resolved to reveal Captain Barrington, the TFCO for Task Force 86. 

“Sir?” Raan frowned. While he knew who Barrington was, he’d never spoken to the man himself even though he knew his XO had. They were cousins as far as he knew. There was a superficial resemblance, but he couldn’t see much of his XO in the man in front of him. Barrington was altogether… harder and more contained than Burton. 

“Commander Mason,” Barrington nodded. “I’ll cut to the chase because time is of the essence here. The Dominion are back, at least a part of them are. The Lost Fleet has re-emerged.”

Raan froze. This had to be a joke, surely? “The Lost Fleet, sir? Aren’t they a myth?”

“Up until hours ago, yes,” Barrington nodded. “Now they’re a myth cutting a swathe through federation territory and causing havoc. They’re convinced the war is still raging and they’re on the front line. We were utterly unprepared for an attack of this size and magnitude.”

Raan nodded. 

“How can I help, sir?” he asked, assuming orders were incoming. No ship captain got a personal communication from the TFCO in a situation like this for a nice chat. 

“You have experience of ground combat, I believe?” 

Barrington, it seemed, was a man to cut to the chase. There was movement behind him and for a moment Raan was forced to do a double take as Rennox slid a padd in front of Barrington. 

But not his Rennox. As soon as the kid looked up, it was easy to see this was the other Rennox. Tavik’s twin. They might look the same, but this one was entirely self-contained in very much the same way as Barrington was. 

“I do, yes,” he replied in a rumble. His life before joining the fleet was detailed in his personnel file. “I served during my planet’s last war.”

Barrington’s lips quirked. “I believe it was a little more than that, wasn’t it, commander? If I have my facts correct, you were a general and victory for your sister’s premiership was down to you.”

“Your facts are correct, sir.” Raan inclined his head. “Although my sister did have some… opinions on how that victory was achieved.” 

Barrington leaned back in his chair, his gaze assessing. “Forgive me the indulgence a moment, commander, and it will be swift because time is short and I have many calls like this to make. What makes a man born and bred to be the ruler of his planet give up the leadership role in favour of his sister? Didn’t you want to sit in the ‘big chair’ so to speak?”

Raan schooled his expression, not allowing the surprise to show by so much as a flicker of his eyelid. Okay, Barrington really was brutal and to the point. 

“This.” He waved a hand in front of his face. 

“Our enemy was led by my twin brother, who did his level best to wipe out everyone who didn’t agree with him. Genocide is not the word. I don’t think there is a word for what Raal did. After that, if I had taken the premiership, then every time a Llanarian looked at me, looked at their leader, they would have seen the man who tried to wipe them out. It wasn’t a case of wanting to sit in the big chair. It was a question of what was best for the people.” 

Barrington’s expression eased slightly. “Good. I was worried for a moment it was lack of confidence. A reluctance to take command.” 

Raan chuckled. “No sir. It was a considered decision, and besides, after so many years of political machinations, and I will absolutely deny any knowledge or training in anything to do with politics if asked, I found I liked the simplicity of combat. I also found I was good at it.”

“Excellent.” Barrington leaned forward, his hands clasped loosely in front of him. “Because I’m going to ask you to do it again.”

Raan inclined his head again. “I rather thought you might be about to, sir. It was a rather pointed line of questioning.”

“Indeed. The simple truth is, while I have many starship captains, Commander Mason, I do not have many ground-capable troops. I need you to break off your current mission and head immediately to Arriana Prime. Starfleet forces have managed to repel enemy ships, but they couldn’t stop a large force of Jem’Hadar landing on the surface. They are currently cutting a swathe across the planet. They have control of two of the major settlements, and they’re advancing on the capital city.”

Raan’s eyes narrowed. He’d taken history while at the Academy so he knew how tough an adversary Jem’Hadar were. 

“Orders sir?” 

“Get to Arriana Prime. Get boots on the ground. Defend the capital at all costs. Do I make myself clear, commander?” 

Raan nodded. A single nod of his head. “Yes sir. Do we have backup?”

Barrington froze for a moment. Then shrugged. “I’ll lay it out straight. I don’t know. We’re in the early hours of a situation none of us saw coming. I don’t know what resources I can commit to backup so you might be on your own.”

“Understood, sir.” The alcohol had burned out of Raan’s system now, the adrenalin of battle to come sharpening his senses. “Anything else?” 

Barrington nodded. “Only one thing. Trust only the Fourth Fleet. Barrington out.”

Then the screen went blank.

Comments

  • I love the whole vibe of this post. Your pacing was fun, it was almost sluggish in the bar (in a good way), you could almost feel the calm, like I had the rum in my system myself, and then as things started happening it started picking up and carried through to that last fantastic "Trust No One." Beat. Amazing bit of intrigue to end on and a great start to what will no doubt be a great addition to the FA :)

    May 5, 2023
  • Not beating around the bush and throwing Raan into the front line of all things. Raan starts the day with doing the regular pirating, and it only took one communication to change that. I am looking forward to how Raan will hold out on the planet surface ;) looking forward to more!

    May 5, 2023
  • Great intro into your mission, enjoyed the beginning with a bit of winding down after their last encounter. Barrington was down to the point not wanting to waste any time by beating around the bush. Now I am looking forward to how Raan and the crew will hold out on the planet and if they will be successful. I am looking forward to more from the Resolute!

    May 6, 2023
  • Given the crew you've developed on the Resolute, I must say I was especially curious to see how they would react to the Dominion. As you established, they are particularly skilled for this kind of operation, even if Raan is only running on the cheapest of liquor. So it was a pleasant surprised to see this slower, quieter Lower Decks take on the Resolute to get us started. You've definitely got me wanting to read more about Norman and his accidents and the mysteries of Rennox's career choices. Especially when you're writing bon mots like "Tonight’s puzzle was why his glass was empty and how quickly he could get it refilled." ha!

    May 6, 2023
  • This Raan is very personable captain. I liked how you described the crew and their flaws and over coming them during a recent attack. Throughly enjoyable post.

    May 6, 2023
  • A fantastic start to the Resolute's mission here. I'm always fascinated with Raan's way of thinking and just love how comfortable he is with his crew, from the lowest to his XO. You've also established quickly and efficiently a few characters I'm guessing we're going to see more of as the FA continues, at least established them as Raan sees them. And I love his interaction with Barrington, which helps again highlight his way of thinking, from not taking the premiership to why is prefers to do what he does. I'm looking forward to seeing how Resolute and her people navigate this crisis.

    May 12, 2023
  • Great start to the story - the characters are intriguing and I love the way you fed us more detail about them through the thoughts of the Captain as he observed them in the lounge. It sounds like a few of them are finding their forte in a hand-to-hand combat situation and I'm looking forward to reading about how they fare against the purpose-bred Jem'Hadar.

    May 20, 2023