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Part of USS Thyanis: The Raven of the Fourth and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

Act 2 – Part 1 – ‘Reflection’

CO Ready Room - USS Thyanis
Mission Day 12 -14:00 Hours
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“Commanding officers Log – Stardate: 78193.3: After our encounter with The Breen, Thyanis has made her way to Farpoint station for some minor repairs and resupply before we push on to the Gamma Coronae Borealis system. We will only be here for a matter of days but the downtime is giving me and the rest of the crew some time to reflect upon this current conflict and our losses.

Our battle with the Breen reminds us that the Deneb sector is indeed a region of the galaxy in turmoil, yet in the coming days, we must push deeper and be prepared for the heavy price of doing so.”


“Dr Xan did all she could, but it’s up to the surgeons at Farpoint now, she tells me that there’s only a one in three chance that Petty Officer Zymia will ever walk again… That is if she can even survive the procedure.” Harris solemnly gave an update to Wallace who was busy reviewing the casualty reports from the opening weeks of the crisis and barely reacted to what he had to say.

 “Chief Catterick is now rostered as Chief Engineer as you instructed, he says that despite the beating we took from the Breen he can have us underway in twelve hours…” Harris glanced over the top of his PADD at Wallace who appeared completely zoned out reading the display on his computer.

“Sir…?” Harris said as he tried to throw his friend a rope back to reality.

Wallace shook his head to wake himself up and realised he had missed entirely what Harris had said, “hm, Yes, thank you!” he responded before falling back into his trance.

Harris reached forward and deactivated the display, it was the only thing he could think of doing to bring Wallace back into the room for one of his famous Pep talks. When he pushed the button, Wallace jerked and sat back in his chair as if he had just woken up from a bad dream. “You’re just one Captain, you can’t save everyone!” Harris said, looking his friend directly in the eyes. “C’mon Wallace, let me in. What’s got into you”

Wallace massaged his face, stretching out the bags under his eyes. He then got up and walked over to the replicator, ordering a fresh pot of medium roast. “Yer-know, I was just nine years old when the Dominion War began. All I can remember from back then were the casualty reports from the front line… day after day, week after week it seemed like another friend at school lost a father, a mother, or a brother,” he recalled as he poured the contents of the pot into the two cups on his desk.

Harris didn’t quite know how to reply to this statement, he himself was too young to remember, but having flown in combat himself he knew the price of war and could see that this troubled his friend’s mind. 

“I just don’t know if I’m up to this Harris,” Wallace said as he took his seat again, feeling the warmth of the coffee penetrate the walls of his cup, “How many more letters of condolence am I going to have to write? How many more widows am I going to have to make before this crisis is over?” Wallace’s voice began to build in anger as he described his lament. “How many more good men and women am I going to have to ship home in pieces, before Starfleet acknowledges the absolute shit-storm that’s going on out here!” Wallace could only just keep himself from flinging his cup across the room, he instead slammed it down on the desk and allowed himself to be burned by a splash of steaming joe. He felt the pain but was far too angry to show it.

The C.O.’s burst of emotion took aback Harris, he knew that there was little he could say at this point to make things right. Wallace just had to vent and Harris was more than willing to accept being the release valve.

“Those were good people we lost, and Starfleet won’t even admit to their families exactly what happened!” Wallace added as he stood up again and began to pace behind his desk.

“What are they saying happened?” Harris asked, keeping his questions brief so as not to interrupt his friend’s chance to vent.

“Officially… They are labeling it as an ‘engineering malfunction’, They’ve even withheld my letter of condolence to keep any mention of the involvement of a hostile power out of it!” Wallace disclosed with disgust, “Part of me can get behind downplaying the crisis to the public, after all… there are billions of people in this sector, and the last thing we want is a panic… but this?… this is completely out of order!”

“You’re right, It stinks!” Harris agreed, putting down his PADD and picking up his own cup to take a sip.

“What troubles me most, isn’t the apparent cover-up, it’s the thought of what’s going to happen next, what happens if the next time we go toe to toe with the Jem’Hedar. Thyanis isn’t a warship… you saw what happened to us with just a single Plesh Tral Raider… we just aren’t equipped for a prolonged engagement.” Wallace sat back down and took a sip of his coffee, his frustration settled for the moment as he broke down his thoughts to his second in command; thereby feeling the weight of his command become shared between them both.

“I don’t know about you Harris, but I don’t intend to end up as a footnote in next week’s papers ‘All hands lost to a warp core malfunction’.”

Harris saw his opportunity to feed back some advice and settle his friend’s mind, “Clearly there’s something more sinister going on in the greater fleet, but like you said we aren’t equipped to take on the entire Dominion ourselves… our mission isn’t necessarily combat orientated. We need to be prepared to fight but that’s not the goal of the mission,” Harris leaned forward and stabbed his finger into the table to solidify his point, “Our job is to get to Oppenheimer and get those scientists out of the warzone, that’s it!”

Wallace absorbed his friend’s advice, he, of course, knew everything he was saying was true but the pressure of his first command and the lack of support from Starfleet made him feel alone, he remembered the Admiral’s words attached to his orders ‘Trust only the Fourth Fleet’ but this did nothing to settle his anxiety. The majority of the Fourth fleet was busy engaging the enemy and pushing back the Dominion-Breen forces, their skirmish a few days ago showed him that this was not an impenetrable front line and there would likely be more isolated pockets of enemy vessels on the road ahead.

“This isn’t why I accepted this command Harris, I never thought I’d lose someone in my first week, I’m disgusted that I can’t even tell Savok’s wife exactly how he died. Or give some reassurance to Zymia’s parents that their daughter wasn’t maimed by a faulty E.P.S conduit!… If I can’t do that… how am I supposed to unify this crew to fight for their lives when the time comes…with the knowledge that Starfleet is content to feed their loved ones some cock and bull story about how they met their end!” Wallace activated his computer terminal once again and spun the display around to face Harris. 

“It’s not just us, look at the casualty reports from the rest of the Fourth… and look what Starfleet command is peddling to the families! This is public information, Harris! I can’t keep the crew focused on the mission if they think Starfleet is just going to disavow all knowledge of their actions! It dishonors their sacrifices and it makes us look like a bunch of damn renegades!”

Harris could sense the anger in his friend’s voice was building again, there wasn’t much he could say that would settle him either; the evidence was there in front of his face and he had to agree with his Commanding Officer’s concerns.

“How about we tell the crew what’s going on, they’re going to learn this information anyway from the news, maybe we need to feed them the facts and trust them to judge the situation themselves,” Harris suggested.

“The official casualty reports from the Fourth Fleet are classified, id be breaking a dozen regulations if I released them to the crew.” Wallace pointed out, again massaging his face whilst he worked the problem.

“Isn’t Starfleet breaking about a dozen regulations by misreporting the truth?” Harris asked, “There’s clearly a conspiracy here and it’s not like there isn’t precedent for it either, during the height of the Dominion War many captains decided to release the casualty reports to their crew, the transparency helped solidify them into fighting to protect something, it gave them a reason to carry on!”

Wallace thought about the idea for a moment, his expression changed almost revealing the cogs turning in his mind. “We brief the crew, show them that we are not the ones reporting this nonsense, and let them know that we will do everything we can to make sure that when the dust settles… we will make sure the truth gets out.” Wallace put forward a suggestion for his X.O. to scrutinise, hoping that it was the right choice to make.

“It’s only a small crew,” Harris pointed out, “I don’t think there is a person on board that doesn’t trust your leadership, and have faith that you’ll get them home safely.” 

“Be that as it may, they all grew up either living or learning about the fallout of the Dominion War. It can’t be easy to be facing that threat again, and knowing that all Starfleet is going to do is deny all knowledge of it.” Wallace proposed and took another sip of his coffee.

“No, it can’t be easy, but like I said, it’s a small crew. They’ve all worked with you the past week, you’ve taken an active part working in engineering until now… You’re not just the C.O. You’re every bit a colleague and a comrade to them, if they hear it from you I’m sure they will get behind you and follow you into hell and back if necessary.” Harris responded, attempting to embolden his friend with the reassurance that his efforts so far had not gone unnoticed.

“So you think it’s a good idea? briefing the crew about this?” Wallace asked sincerely.

“I think, if you tell the crew what you’ve just told me, show them that you are every bit as disgusted by Command’s lack of acknowledgment… I can’t see one person wanting off this ride… our mission is important and risky, everyone knows that… what they need to hear is that their C.O. has their best interests at the forefront of his mind. You tell them that and they will believe it!” Harris replied, attempting to reinforce his point.

Wallace took his friend’s advice on board for a few seconds, Harris could see that he was much more relaxed having been given the advice he needed. 

“Schedule a briefing, all hands in the port side mess by 1900 hours.” Wallace Instructed, stroking his goatee. “I’ll start by laying down my thoughts as you suggested, then it’s time I learned to trust the crew to make us proud.” 

“I’ll get right on it, and for what it’s worth, I think anyone would be shaken by the situation you find yourself in… I personally think it makes you human…not weak,” Harris said as he got up to leave. He truly felt for Wallace, it was a cruel twist of fate that found him with his first command during this crisis and he did not envy the cross which his friend was apparently having to bear.

As Harris left the room, Wallace glanced out of his window at the planet below and his thoughts turned back to his preparedness for this command. He was touched by Harris’s sentiment but it still didn’t put to bed; his concern for the mission ahead. He knew how to lead his crew, and he now had a plan for doing so. 

Wallace knew he had to be prepared to lose more crew, but he hoped that they would be fortunate enough to avoid a further confrontation. He was pleased that he had the privilege of a rather unique command, but he would have given anything to be commanding a Galaxy class vessel right now or at least something more capable at swatting a few Jem’Hedar fighters.

Comments

  • I like how Jones is written - he's a multifaceted officer with a lot going on, and his imperfections really shine here - it allows our other character to dig in and try and help without making it a magical save. It's real and they both share similar fears as the story goes on. I'm interested to see the next chapter of this small crew!

    May 20, 2023