Part of Starbase Bravo: The Homefront and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

My Nightmares Have a Sudden Tone

Starbase Bravo, Sector Hotel-Turquoise, Observation Lounge 3
March 2401
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A holographic emblem gently rotated over the conference table while the audio-only communique played back.  The emblem was symbolic of a hand and a white bird, both reaching for a sun.  There was something aspirational about the imagery.  Leaning over the table, Lieutenant Elegy Weld’s gaze landed nowhere near the emblem.  As he listened to the recording for a second time, he tapped reminders for himself –logistical preparations– onto a holographic PADD.

Joining the Lieutenant in Observation Lounge Three would be the newest member of the station’s Strategic Operations team if only she could find the blasted place. This wasn’t her first time aboard the station, but there were still people she’d never met, and places she had never been. For a strategist who made knowledge her business, the young Orion was more than a little frustrated when she eventually arrived at the meeting place. “Sorry I’m late Lieutenant,” she apologised, standing just inside the door of the lounge until she was welcomed in.

“It’s no trouble at all, ensign,” Weld said automatically.  His gaze remained on his PADD, typing in the trail-end of a thought he’d started when Dalaa walked in.  He looked up at her for a moment and then typed in the rest of his sentence.  As he finished the note, he offered, “I’m Lieutenant Weld, Bravo’s deputy director of psychiatry.  I don’t believe we’ve been introduced before?”

“Ensign Dalaa,” the Orion smiled, moving closer to him, trying to eye what he was working on. “Strategic Operations,” she added, so that he knew what exactly her purpose was. “I was advised that you needed me for something?”

Weld sat back in his chair and he raised his chin, finally meeting Dalaa’s eyes properly.  He spared no attention to his notes when he nodded at her question and he offered up his answer.

“Advice, Ensign Daala,” Weld replied.  “I could use your strategic counsel.”  — He double-tapped a contact on his PADD and a hologram of a planet appeared over the table– “The mental health facility on the Elba Two colony has requested Starbase Bravo take carriage and care of 70 percent of their patients.  I’m told their entire staff have been refocused on emergency psychiatry: they’ve received an influx of patients from the Breen border skirmish spilling deeper into the Deneb Sector.  Have you read similar reports?”

She’d only been aboard a short while, and already she had been sought out for her opinion on a matter of importance. Her heart began to race with excitement. This was what the diminutive woman lived for; showing off her skills and making a difference. It didn’t matter where she was, whether it was in the field or some briefing room. His words, however, confused her somewhat.

“Breen border skirmish?” she inquired. “Surely you must be up to date with the latest intelligence indicating it is far more than that?” She didn’t wait for an answer before she moved to the nearest monitor and input her clearance codes, bringing up a Deneb sector map. “Dominion forces have struck the sector en masse, supported by their rekindled alliance with the Breen. Emergency psychiatry is the least of our worries out there,” she concluded, arms folded across her chest.

Weld had been perched on the edge of his chair, attentively leaning into the conference table as much as his conversation with Dawaa.  His posture changed when she said that word.  He slumped back in his chair as if Dawaa had punched him.  His arms hung limply by his sides and he blinked heavily, his eyes not perfectly in sync.

“S-sorry,” Weld sputtered out.  “The Domin-what?

‘You blue shirts really need to get out into the real world some more,’ is what the Orion was desperate to say, but as she had been reminded on many an occasion, discretion was the better part of valour. Instead, she pulled up countless holographic displays of maps, skirmish reports and refugee lists from those planets that had fallen during the early days. “It’s early days, but there is a definite Dominion presence out there. And that changes everything,” she advised the Lieutenant. “The influx of patients they are seeing is not from a skirmish, but from a war,” she concluded, standing with arms folded, defiant.

Shaking his head, Weld remarked, “This is why there’s no ‘I’ in Starfleet.  Your analytical prowess is going to be all the more necessary to our medical team.”  –He perked up in the chair, straightening his posture– “You may have a war to fight, but the patients are my domain.  We’re too far from Deneb to offer medical care to those in the fight.  Can you and your department anticipate what hospitals in and around the Deneb Sector are likely to evacuate their patients, due to over-crowding or Dominion attack?  We have to determine what volume of hospital beds, long-term care suites, and medical officer care will be required to accept over-flow patients in from other facilities.”

“We probably have a basis on that information already. Give me a few minutes and I can run some predictions,” the Orion nodded to her new team leader of sorts, “but I can tell you now, it’s going to be high.”

Weld rubbed the back of his neck and he sighed.  “Our counseling teams, and the medical department at large, have hardly bounced back after treating all the refugees displaced by the Century Storm and the fall of the Romulan Star Empire,” he said wearily.  “…But I suppose that’s why we’re equipped with two full hospitals.”

‘Wow, this guy is a barrel of laughs…’ the youngster thought as she watched him suffering under the burden placed on him.

Without waiting for permission, she got to work doing what she did best. Taking over the computer display, the young strategist began to work her magic. Fingers danced as she input data, used her security clearance to connect to different databases and gathered what intelligence she could on predicted, or expected, fleet movements. When she was done, she took a step back from the display. Two very different numbers showed the grim reality of the situation they faced.

“Best case scenario, we’re looking at sixty percent of hospitals and medical facilities in the region evacuating their non-emergency patients. Hospitals on Deneb would be the first to evacuate as it is the fallback point,” the Orion revealed, gesturing to the first number. “That increases to almost ninety percent in the eventuality that Deneb or Farpoint themselves should fall,” she told grimly, “but at that point, it’ll be game over anyway. Our forecasts predict that by that point, Starfleet would have issued orders for a complete withdrawal.”

Getting to his feet, Weld said, “You weren’t kidding.  This is far bigger than my little corner, even aboard Sector Hotel-Turquoise.” –He started adding Dalaa’s conclusions to the notes on his PADD– “I’ll need to conference with the other medical directors to develop our strategy.  I appreciate your insights, ensign.”

“Anytime Lieutenant,” she shrugged, “I don’t know what you guys out here have been told,” she trailed off, turning to the screen’s control panel and deactivating it, “there’s a war on out there. And things are going to get infinitely worse before they can get better…”

Comments

  • So, being relatively new to the community whilst scrambling to find time, I've only just started to read through these stories. This story happens to be the very first. I found it really easy to follow and absorb. It was just the right length to keep me engaged, as I much prefer bitesize pieces. It's interesting to start learning about individuals and what they get up to in their fields.

    May 19, 2023