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Part of USS Polaris: The Voices of Deneb (The Lost Fleet – Part 2) and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

Rebuilding Under Difficult Circumstances

Government Plaza, Nasera City
Mission Day 2 - 1200 Hours
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The first day was chaos. The second day was better. Slowly, the recovery effort was beginning to take shape. Commander Cora Lee stood in the middle of the government plaza at the heart of Nasera City, surrounded by two dozen officers in yellow, red, and teal. She couldn’t be picky. They had too few people between the losses suffered and the ongoing repair work, so her leadership team for the planetary reconstruction effort was sourced from every department of every vessel in the squadron. Some were traditional engineering and operations professionals, but others were astrophysicists, stellar cartographers, brig officers, and flight controllers. The thing that mattered most, the common thread among all assembled, was their dedication to help the war torn planet heal.

“Where do we stand on getting the power plant operational again?”

“We’ve repaired most of the reactor assembly at this point,” explained a theoretical physicist from the Advanced Science, Technology and Research Activity on the USS Polaris. While he typically spent his days at the whiteboard, he had taken on his new applied sciences role as head of reactor engineering with vigor. “The major problem we have is fuel. The Dominion gutted its reserves. Even with the modifications we made, we’re not even going to make 20% output.” That was hardly enough to sustain the residential units, let alone get the industrial machine rolling again.

“Supply chain management,” Lee instructed, turning to an operations officer from her ship, the USS Ingenuity. “Call Captain Vox and see what reserves he can scrounge from our ships.” Dorian Vox, the CO of the USS Diligent, was coordinating aerial support logistics, for both ship repairs and the supplies they needed on the ground.

“Understood,” nodded the operations officer. “No ship will singlehandedly have the excess reserves of deuterium and tritium necessary, but there may be enough to make 40% if we skim from all of them.” While starship warp cores supported the high energy needs of starships, they paled in comparison to the scale of the planetary reactor for a city of eight million. A further complicating factor was that none of the ships in the squadron were provisioned as deep space explorers on multi-year missions so none had large reserves. Most of what they carried was active within the matter/antimatter assembly.

“You know Commander,” interjected Commander Gelar, the captain of the Steamrunner from Task Group 514 who was doubling as head of residential redevelopment. “My ship is so badly damaged that, if we can just relocate the crew to the other ships, we could probably extract all of her active fuel as well.”

“That would add at least another 20% output, but it would leave your ship dead in the water.”

“Let’s be real. My ship is going to be dead in the water for a long time. These people need it right now,” Commander Gelar replied, looking out at combat-scarred buildings ringing the plaza. These people had been through so much, and he felt guilty he had ever questioned this mission. “My ship’s capacity can go in full towards factories, replication capabilities, hospitals, whatever else they need. I’ll coordinate with the teams to make it so.” He paused for a moment to think, and then he added, “And if we’re relocating my crew, we can also strip the ship of other critical components, equipment, and food stocks. I’ll review the options with supply chain management to get the right items to the right places.”

“That is mighty generous of you,” Commander Lee acknowledged. Although technically a Commanding Officer simply received a ship as an assignment, the reality is that you built an emotional attachment to it over time. Commander Gelar had come a long way from that overtly hostile first meeting with Admiral Reyes to the point he was now offering to strip his ship for the good of the mission. The experiences of war truly had the power to change perspectives.

“Since I’d like to get right to work on that, let me give a brief update on residential redevelopment before I go,” Gelar continued. “The tent cities are up, and the groundwater wells are drilled.” The Jem’Hadar had taken a scorched earth approach to the city once they had realized the battle for Nasera was lost, and beyond the damage they did to the factories, they also destroyed nearly 8% of Nasera’s entire residential capacity. That meant over 600,000 displaced residents. “Unfortunately, our ships did not come stocked for a humanitarian mission of this scale, and with energy limitations with all the damage our squadron sustained, we can’t just replicate more. We’re still short 240,000 beds.”

Commander Lee took that number in. It was shocking, although not surprising, how hard things became when modern marvels like replicators were no longer freely available to make whatever you needed. The ships of the squadron were having to be very diligent about how exactly they delegated emergency power levels, between keeping the ships inhabitable, fixing critical damage, and maintaining tactical readiness until the Dominion staged a counterattack. But nearly a quarter a million people without a roof over their head for the third night in a row was not an acceptable outcome.

“What about couch surfing?” asked Lieutenant Emilia Balan, the diplomatic attaché and cultural affairs specialist from the USS Polaris who was leading morale and civilian government liaison work. “A half million people don’t have homes, but seven and a half million do. What about if we set up a system for people to make available spare rooms, beds and couches in their homes?”

“Would people really do that?” the Commander Gelar asked quizzically. To invite a stranger into your home was not an insignificant ask.

“Times of need can inspire acts of generosity,” Balan replied with an optimistic smile. “These people have been through so much. If just four or five percent of residents take us up on this, everyone gets a roof over their head.”

“I love the idea,” smiled Commander Lee brightly. The initiative, collaboration and unconventional thinking was inspiring. “Lieutenant, please coordinate with the digital systems team to get something stood up, and work with municipal officials to get the word out.” She turned back to Commander Gelar. “Anything else on the residential front?”

“Unfortunately not.” Commander Gelar regretted how slow it was going. “Until we can direct industrial replicators at the task or get the textile factories down here operational again, we cannot truly begin the process of rebuilding what the Jem’Hadar destroyed.” It would still be days before either of those things were a reality.

Commander Gelar took his leave to start the process of strip mining his ship for fuel and needed parts, while Commander Lee turned to the others to continue the discussion. The readouts from the other team leads were much of the same. They were making progress on items like industrial capacity and medical field operations, but the going was slow because their ships, which would typically produce what they needed, were still in such disarray. At least the USS Verity, a fully intact Odyssey class vessel outfitted for humanitarian operations, would be arriving in a few days to help.

Comments

  • I love how the people are working together to get the situation of rebuilding on its way. A Captain that is realistically stating that his ship doesn't fly out is a worthy sacrifice that would hurt any Captain, but to see the ship have one final function is a wonderful ending. Lee has the situation good under control in taking in any opinion, suggestion or remark to get the job done quicker so that everyone gets the proper attention. Great post!

    June 1, 2023
  • It is so sad to see Polaris and the colony in such a state, but you write both of their wounds so very well. The fact that people from across the squadron are banding together shows this to be a real team effort. I like Balan, though. She is young, she adds a lot to every post she is in and she adds quality suggestions. Sofa surfing is a great idea for getting people into some sort of home and to safety. Some great interaction, some great technical detail and still some peril/jeopardy to the story, despite it being relatively safe now. A great read!

    June 4, 2023
  • Cora Lee

    Squadron Engineering Officer
    USS Ingenuity Commanding Officer

  • Emilia Balan

    ASTRA Staff Researcher, Cultural Affairs
    Diplomatic and Cultural Affairs Officer