Star Trek: Apollo


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Post 39 - Social Graces, Pt. 3

Posted on Wed Mar 4th, 2020 @ 12:11am by Captain Sean Gaudain & Captain Elizabeth Hayden & Commander Cælestis Everett & Commander Roy Tanner

Mission: Episode 0 - War Games
Location: USS Arcturus - Banquet Hall
Timeline: Mission Day 03 - 1915 Hours

[USS Arcturus - NCC-84000]
[Deck 08 - Banquet Hall]
[Mission Day 03 - 1915 Hours]

Dinner was relatively uneventful, with Gaudain struggling to remember the names of his fellow captains and the names of their ships, but otherwise having pleasant small talk about their previous careers. The other captains were just as excited to get started on their mission as he was, though most of them were ambivalent about the idea of a war game. Gaudain could see the logic in it, though, as they'd be completely cut off from support for months at a time in an area with known aggressors like the Kazon and the Vidiians.

"I want to thank you all for making the time to join us aboard the Arcturus. This ship was designed to be the center of our expedition and I want you to feel as at home aboard her as on your own ship," Fleet Captain Hayden said, standing up from her place. "We have a strong, diverse collection of ships and officers ready for this mission, and I couldn't be prouder to be in command. We're going to have to rely on each other out there, so I hope this is just the start of the fellowship we'll be building as part of Explorer Group 382. With that, I'll turn this over to Vice Admiral Knox to explain the parameters of our war game."

The admiral stood up from his seat and walked over to a podium, where he called a holographic display into existence at the far end of the room. On the display were twelve Starfleet chevrons clustered around the symbol for a wormhole.

"The parameters for this exercise are quite simple: you will be preventing the opposing team from getting past your task group and through the wormhole and you will be protecting the Arcturus. These two tasks are also part of your standing orders while in the Delta Quadrant: no unauthorized ships are allowed through the Barzan Wormhole under any circumstances and this ship must be protected, as it contains the supplies, equipment, and technology that you would need to make the journey home if the wormhole were to be damaged in some way," Knox explained.

That made sense; protect the wormhole, protect the flagship.

"To aid us in this task, we have some visitors that have kindly agreed to help hone our skills," Knox said, looking down at the console for a moment. "And here they are," he said, gesturing towards the windows.

On cue, there were twelve flashes as twelve starships dropped out of warp nearby. Their design was instantly recognizable as Andorian, with a long central hull flanked by wings containing weapons arrays. They were smaller than the average Starfleet ship, but significantly more heavily armed. There was a reason that Andorian space had been left well alone by the Dominion.

"The Andorian Imperial Guard was happy to lend us a task group to take part in this exercise. Our intelligence reports suggest that the opponents you will face in the Delta Quadrant will rely on smaller more maneuverable ships compared to your own, and these Andorian destroyers will mimic that role quite nicely--though they are significantly stronger and better trained than the average Kazon war pack," Knox explained.

"Damn right they are," Gaudain muttered, looking out at their opponents. Andorian starship design hadn't diverged much at all from the original Kumari-class battlecruisers in use at the founding of the Federation, but they had a reputation for being fiercely aggressive combatants.

"Fleet Captain Hayden will be in command and I will monitor from my own ship. We'll be heading out to the edge of this system at 0800 tomorrow morning, where a marker buoy has been set up to simulate the edge of the wormhole. All ships' weapons have been set to training mode and your computers will record hits and alter your performance appropriately. Ships that are 'destroyed' will automatically move out of the area of engagement," the admiral continued.

The admiral continued by explaining what ships would be positioned where--the heavier ships would maintain a core in front of the wormhole, the light cruisers would group off and harass the enemy, while small ships like the Apollo would run point defense and interference, putting their speed and manuverability to work.

After the briefing, Gaudain caught up with Cal and Tanner. "I've never tangled with an Andorian battle group. This should be fun," the captain noted.

"That's a strange notion of fun you have there, Skipper," Tanner noted drily. "Unless Andorian ship design has changed significantly in the last 10 years - and given it's barely changed in the last 250 years, I'd guess not - these are some tough sumbitches. This is not gonna be an easy fight." He screwed up his face as he plumbed the depths of his memory. "From what I remember from the last set of Andorian schematics I reviewed - they'll match us in terms of sub-light velocity but Apollo's turning circle is significantly tighter. We could evade most of their attacks but the rest of the Explorer Group won't. And this beached whale," he spread his arms expansively to show that his insult was aimed specifically at Artcurus most definitely won't. I think unless we come up with something a little bit more 'constructive' in our planning, we'll most likely have a problem here..."

"Exactly. Fun," Gaudain said, with a smirk. "A lot of this is going to come down to piloting, which is good, because I want to see how Thiesman flies. Andorian ships aren't like Starfleet ships: they favor heavy forward firepower, so if we can out-turn them, we can get behind them and pick them off," he said.

"Fun," Tanner repeated. He looked at Everett. "And this is the man we've pledged to follow to the other side of the galaxy?..." He turned back to Gaudain. "And just in case hotshot piloting doesn't do it - I think I've got a way to disrupt shields long enough to get a boarding party aboard. But only if ya wanna try something a little less conventional..." he grinned.

"Worth a shot... Though, I'm not sure that's technically covered under standard war games rules," Gaudain said, thinking about that. He turned to Cal. "Have all department heads brainstorm potential 'unconventional' tactics."

"Will do," Cal replied. "That will give us a chance to see what 'unconventional' means to each of our chiefs, as well."

"So we get a kickin' for breakin' the rules - an' a commendation for original thinkin'," Tanner shrugged. "Just let me know - Lieutenant Thiesman will have to be at the top of his game for it to work though."

"It may not do to break too many of the rules of the game," Cal warned. "This isn't just an exercise for us. The Fleet may also use this as a chance to tighten the corners of pre-established defense tactics, within a confined set of variables. If we press too hard, we could ruin the results for everyone."

"Rules of the game?" Tanner frowned. "We have an objective to achieve - end of. Defend the wormhole and protect Arcturus... But hey, you two are in charge - I'm just along for the ride. Personally I've never been too fond - or too good - at following somebody else's rulebook. I'm just sayin' - there are options other than the obvious ones."

The captain considered both of those angles. "I've got an angel on one shoulder, a devil on the other... meanwhile I'm more in the 'bit of both' camp," he said, with a wide grin. "I remember from reading Sun Tzu that there's something to be said for unpredictability, but y'all know I'm not the kind of guy who's going to whip a quote out, unlike that one," he said, nodding in Lancaster's direction, though he was speaking with the Admiral, so it was unclear which one he actually meant.

"Lots to think about before tomorrow. Let's head back to our own ship, I think," Gaudain said, before tapping his badge. "Apollo Computer, prepare a full read-out of Andorian Imperial Guard technical specifications and tactics and send it to the terminal in my quarters."

"Confirmed," the computer reported from the other end of the line.

"An angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other?" Tanner grinned. "I mean they can be a bit unruly but they're not all that bad... Don'cha think it's a bit unfair calling Cal a devil?" He turned his grin on the XO before looking back to Gaudain. "Let's escape back to Apollo while everyone's distracted. I still haven't unpacked yet..."

"Ah ha," Cal humorlessly laughed, but a smile was lingering on their mouth. "Let's. I'm starving, couldn't eat a thing at dinner. I'll send a comm around to the chiefs to get them to start brainstorming."

"Alright, let's head home then, folks," Gaudain said, before the three of them made their way back to the transporter room.

A Mission Post By

Vice Admiral Jonathan Knox
Commander, Task Force 38
Director, Delta Exploration Initiative

Fleet Captain Elizabeth Hayden
Commanding Officer, USS Arcturus
Commander, Explorer Group 382

Captain Sean Gaudain
Commanding Officer
USS Apollo

Commander Cal Everett
Executive Officer
USS Apollo

Commander Roy Tanner
Chief Engineering Officer & Second Officer
USS Apollo


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