"Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

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Post by Themightytom » 2008-08-03 08:07pm

Master_Baerne wrote:fb111a, I'm fairly certain we've had this discussion before. Stop making posts in a popular story thread, months after the last one, for the sole purpose of making everyone mad at you. Point taken? Good.
What the F? FB111a do you bother to read the rules on this website? how rude is it to people who anticipate these fanfics to get isntead of an update... you, a redshirt schmuck who hasn't figured out how to PM an author and ask for an update. ITS ALWAYS STEVE! FINE YOU LIKE STEVE'S WORK! WE ALL DO! IF YOU WANT AN UPDATE! TALK TO STEVE!

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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2013-01-13 02:03am

(Restarting this story on Steve's behalf with a joint post featuring Slyperia!)

Earth Orbit
United Federation of Planets
Universe Designate ST-3
14 May 2166 AST
6 December 2380 ST-3 Calendar

The Admiral Senyavin, NCC-2804, was the first of a huge class of ships that had been laid down during the Federation Rearmament before the Khitomer Accords subsequent to the explosion of the Klingon Moon, Praxis. They were intended to replace the Defender-class destroyers, and used the technology of the massively reconstructed Star Empire-class starships which had been meant as leader-cruisers for concentrating groups of Explorer-rate ships against enemy battle forces.

The “destroyers” of the Defender-class and then the Federation II class, though, were one step above that, the largest starships ever built in the Alpha or Beta Quadrant by one of the major powers. The Federation II class had the melted-edge hexagonal shaped saucer-in-name only; four pairs of Excelsior warp drives, each one with its own dedicated warp core, in a paired cruciform around an ovoid engineering section with two deflector dishes, one above and one below the horizontal neck to the saucer.

The ships had been completed to the frame of the saucer and then halted in the Khitomer era, but along with all of the equipment needed for finishing them, had been stored in orbit of Alpha Centauri. After the borg threats, construction had resumed with the addition of all possible modern technology. They were heavily armoured with modern compounds, and now, coated in ablative armour as well. Eight rapid-fire quantum torpedo launchers forward and four firing aft, all in engineering.

Instead of a bridge, she had a massive turret mounting the fixed-forward firing armament of a Defiant on the dorsal of her saucer, and it was paired with a second one on the bottom. There were three Galaxy-type Class X phaser arrays on the top and bottom each of the saucer; two more torpedo launchers, slower firing, mounted in the forward edge of the saucer, and another six at fore and broadside positions on the dorsal and ventral surfaces. Another Galaxy-rate array was aft, and she had a compliment of fighters in two very large shuttle bays. Most importantly for the first time she sixteen small Runabout-grade phaser arrays added with sophisticated targeting and tracking mechanisms for point-defence and engaging fighters.

Slyperia found her an inadequate flagship at best. She would be her command for the Federation First Fleet, an enormous responsibility to trust to something a quarter of the empty tonnage of an Imperial Starfleet dreadnought. On the other hand, she was unquestionably the best fighting ship that the UFP could produce natively, with ten in service and ten more under construction. Her crew had been selected to be the best, and Slyperia would not transfer her flag to one of the eight capital ships the Federation had purchased from Talora. That would be a fatal gesture—a total lack of confidence in the technology the state she now served—that she would not even consider.

But the bridge design was terrible, even if it was at least buried into the hull, and Slyperia had used her personal holoprojector and gotten the crew to modify the bridge to properly project a full 3-dimensional holo of combat to allow the Admiral and her staff sitting to each side—which was not a terrible arrangement—to properly view the combat.

Slyperia had discovered something in that. By innovating, and bringing her crew into the innovation and letting them design parts of it, she had awakened something old and positive in the Starfleeters around her. They were excited. They were in their element. They were being asked to do something new and clever, and that was the sort of thing that Starfleet liked. It had been an inadvertent discovery, but she had seized upon it.

And now, she was testing it. Instead of criticizing existing methods; she would make her tactical proposals in the form of new ideas, and encourage her staff officers and crew to practice on them, to innovate ways of making them work and ways to improve upon them. Water follows the path of least resistance, and for Federation crews it very much appeared that the path of least resistance was to let them discover and innovate the solutions to their own problems—even if Slyperia was subtly guiding them to the ‘correct’ solution.

In that, they had already surprised her. They weren’t just finding the correct solutions; sometimes, they were proposing ideas which were genuinely better for this situation than even her own. And that gave her far more confidence than the ship herself, with round-table meetings like the one just ending proving quite beneficial.

“That’s quite the interesting concept, Commander Soleta. I hadn’t realized the seamless computer integration of faster and slower than light sensor data on Federation ships and the real flaw it represents. And you’ve already put together the computer programme to rectify it?”

“Yes, my team was able to get it out quite promptly, Admiral,” the youthful Vulcan woman who served as her XO answered. Unlike many of the others who had served under ‘Mac the Bastard’, the absolute rigid loyalty of Soleta had left no question whatsoever of her position, and considering her record she had been promoted from Lieutenant Commander, and with that same loyalty, assigned to Slyperia’s flagship.

The Taloran Admiral suspected she had been sent partly to spy on her, but Vulcan and Taloran had, when Slyperia started to accept, and issue orders and plan like, a starfleeter, come to an agreement and perhaps now real mutual respect. “Then, we will get it into every single ship that has the holodeck emitters added to the bridge, yes?”

“I can start distributing the plans as soon as the meeting is over.”

“Excellent thinking. Well, that’s enemy action we can dismiss as a matter of course. As usual, my fellow-officers, feel free to wake me up if anything else comes to mind. Don’t let it slip, write it down, and we’ll see about implementing it. This is how Starfleet has won against every opponent we have faced, and Alliance backed rebels aren’t any different. The Borg, after all, have even more firepower and armour than they do. Dismiss.”

The junior officers rose and excused themselves first. Slyperia smiled mildly and glanced to Soleta as she prepared to leave. “Accompany me to my ready room, please, Primus.”

The Vulcan XO had grown used to the Taloran appellation for her position, and nodded crisply. “Of course, Admiral.”

Slyperia led the way out of the conference room and to what she thought of as a Sea Cabin, and had accordingly rearranged to include a cot so she could sleep directly off of her bridge. It was strange how Admirals in the Federation tended to command their flagship directly, but she saw how their strategic infrastructure had been quite minimal for leading and organizing fleets before the past decade, and had adapted to it rather than insisting upon a Captain. It gave her more control, anyway, which she appreciated. Her own background, after all, had been in the tutelage of an absolute genius, and one of her maxims had been to lead from the front. Jeryllyn had been one of the very few space Admirals missing multiple limbs and not having been decompressed to death…

“Cocoa, spiced, Aztec,” Slyperia specified, and then after taking her own cup gestured Soleta to the replicator before going to sit at her desk with the steaming hot drink. “I expect, Primus, based on what I’ve heard at my meetings at Starfleet command, that we’re going to be ordered to the front within days. How would you assess the readiness of the fleet to date? We have virtually run ourselves ragged on drills.”

“That is an accurate assessment, Admiral,” Soleta agreed as she took her own cup and moved to sit across from Slyperia. “I would say that our cohesion is still only mediocre by the very rigorous operational standards you have insisted upon. Morale, however, has been raised greatly by the mere act of these drills, and by your good handling of poor performance in them. The improvement to morale after recent reverses may be a more important factor than the actual increases in overall fleet performance.”

“I don’t dispute that,” Slyperia replied after a moment, and then sipped from the hot drink. “If anything it’s almost flattery. But hidden in that, too, is the implication that if we don’t let them rest, savour the results of their own perceived successes in organizing the fleet into a disciplined fighting force, they will actually perform worse out of weariness.”

“…That would be an accurate assessment, Admiral.”

“Thank you.” Slyperia set the cup down, brushing aside a silvering lock of ever-so-vividly colourful hair, ears flicking down as she navigated her way through the desk computer and made a log note. Then, “Admiral, First Fleet Commanding, Supplemental Log Entry. I have decided to cancel further training exercises for the fleet to allow personnel to rest in expectation of impending deployment. At this stage, the mental acuity provided by some leisure time will be superiour to any gains in fleet cohesion from further drill.”

Then she opened a channel to the entire fleet. “Captains of the First Fleet, this is Admiral Mhanahkiu. I am informing you that drills are cancelled for the next ninety-six hours. Shore leave is not authorised but encouarge your crews to rest and relax as much as possible aboard ship. Thank you.”

She watched the confirmations stream in as she drank her cocoa. Soleta broke the companionable silence first.

“Admiral, I understand Talorans have a philosophical objection to transporters.”

“That’s not actually correct anymore,” Slyperia answered and smiled slightly. “Arguments on the nature of their function have been convincing enough for the Farzian elders in the All-Imperial Upper House to agree to a position statement that the transporter process is still capable of preserving the immortal soul with the body.”

“I see. There was a real debate about this?” Soleta frowned a bit.

“Yes, there was. The same about Computational Intelligences—you yourselves had that, with the issue of the Data android, so I don’t think our peoples are that different.”

“Granted, Admiral. Your religiosity is deeply unusual by federation standards, though, Vulcans themselves seem incapable of recognizing that many aspects of our philosophy have religious overtones. I believe we have more in common in philosophical deliberation than most would give credit for.”

“I won’t disagree. And thank you for the consideration about my immortal soul.” Slyperia forced a trifle of a smile to her lips.

“I am just fascinated by the practice of subordinate loyalty of your people, and retired and ‘half-pay’ officers seeking out foreign service.”

“It was once common on Earth, I am given to understand, so it isn’t racially unique,” Slyperia replied.

“Yes, but on Earth. Not on Vulcan.”

Slyperia laughed softly. “Granted, Primus. Well, it is a fire in the blood of old noblewomen. What else can I say?”

“You like war almost as much as a Klingon, in other words.”

“Yes, but it is an affectation of my class, not of my species. I was raised in a cultural of sororal bonds between Captains of ships and professional staff officers who were united by a woman of incredible capability in the field, and I have lived and breathed naval warfare for my entire life. It creates a different experience on fighting and death. One that I firmly believe is more important than the mere inclinations of a species. We are all sapients, after all, no matter to what gene-line we were born.”

“The Federation has a very different perspective,” Soleta answered, softly, “though in this, I believe you are motivated in part by your religion, yes?”

“That would be accurate. What of yourself?”

“You have adapted to the ethos of Starfleet well, and shown that you take your subsidiary oath seriously. I value loyalty quite deeply, which is why I am here. But even so, I admit your view has some advantages. In the case of how it regards sapient species, at least, I think it superiour.”

“Well, I tend to agree,” Slyperia chuckled, and finished off the mug. “That raises its own question. How will you face Calhoun and Shelby?”

“Resolutely,” Soleta answered simply. “I would not be true to myself if I did not place loyalty to country above loyalty to people. All I ask is that I be treated according to the rights I was born with. And if I were betrayed, I would resign rather than betray in turn.”

“Then your hierarchy of loyalty and virtue is quite similar to a Taloran one, Primus. It’s no surprise we’ve gotten along so well.”


The console beeped urgently, and Slyperia glanced down, then looked more intently. It did not take long, though, before she looked up again. “We will be receiving deployment orders in twenty-four hours. Sooner than even I expected. I hope the crews have enough of a chance to rest.”

“We will be ready, Admiral. With your permission?”

“You are dismissed. And good luck, Primus.”

“May we all live long and prosper, Admiral. All of us.”

Slyperia twitched an ear, and watched her go silently, before steepling her hands. “So I am finally back in the saddle, Jeryllyn. Ah, but now I understand what it is to be an old Rostok.”
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In 1966 the Soviets find something on the dark side of the Moon. In 2104 they come back. -- Red Banner / White Star, a nBSG continuation story. Updated to Chapter 4.0 -- 14 January 2013.

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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by Morningstar » 2013-01-13 10:09am

Very excited to see this story restarted! The TGG series are a favorite of mine :)
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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2013-01-15 03:28am

Earth Orbit
United Federation of Planets
Universe Designate ST-3
15 May 2166 AST
7 December 2380 ST-3 Calendar

Onboard the USS Admiral Senyavin, all was ordered and at peace as Slyperia Mhanahkiu settled into her ready room with another cup of spiced cocoa. She suspected by her example she’d driven up the consumption of replicated chocolate in First Fleet a fair bit, certainly introduced some people to the Aztec version of the drink for the first time. That was a quaint thought, as she herself thought replicated Taloran food was terrible:

Adopting human food while on replicator rations was both a good example, and meant that she had absolutely no idea of what she was missing! The Taloran admiral chuckled softly to herself, and then authenticated the incoming message as it arrived from Starfleet headquarters.

“Admiral,” Milano offered politely. “Thank you for responding so promptly.”

“I came in to my ready room to access the secured line in advance. It has the great advantage of letting me sit here, bothered by nobody, just drinking my cocoa.”

Milano couldn’t help a grin. Sang-froid was in short supply everywhere except with Slyperia these days, and it was refreshing. “I’m glad you’ve found an Earth beverage that’s appealing.”

“Most Earth food I’ve tasted is quite good, actually,” she answered with a neutral sense of some bemusement.

“Well,” Milano chuckled, “Perhaps you’ll get a chance after the war to sample some fine cuisine that isn’t replicator based down on Earth.”

“After the war,” oh, most assuredly only after the war. “What do you have for me, Sir?”

“We need First Fleet to deploy in preparation for a major counteroffensive. Your job will be to hold the line against Sisko while we deal with the Beta-side colonies—the Beta quadrant colonies—which are functionally cut off from the rest of the rebel worlds right now. Leyton will be directing that effort, and you’ll be holding down the fort so we can squeeze off the weaker colonial concentrations and then concentrate all of Starfleet to finish off the rebellion. You’re receiving a datapacket right now containing all of the broad brushstrokes of the operation, plus your own specific directives for your part of it.”

“I see. Well, it looks far out enough that we will still have more time for drilling over Earth. Will additions to the order of battle continue?”

“Yes, you’ll be getting the first of the purchased Taloran ships since, well, we expect you to know how to use them best in your line of battle, Admiral—though I know they’re not Line of Battle ships by your standards. Four battleships, twelve heavy cruisers, four light cruisers, eight destroyers. Their multi-mission pods are being replaced by dedicated warp coil arrays, so you won’t need to worry about tactical incompatibility. Refits on two Defender’s, and a second Federation II are to be completed and join your fleet in time for drilling as well as four Star Empire-class ships. As for the rest, I suspect you yourself wouldn’t want less than two weeks to intergrate them to the fleet, so…”

He checked a padd. “Yes, I think you can remain and we can keep the maneouvring grounds around Uranus and Neptune open for another eighteen days. That should give you two weeks to drill the new additions to First Fleet in, and then you’ll need to forward deploy. They should be able to keep running simulations, of course, for another week before the plan kicks off. Do I have your concurrence on that?”

“The additional firepower is worth the particularly tight timetable. It will mostly be an issue of teaching other seconded Taloran officers warp drive tactics, I expect,” Slyperia replied crisply, though inside she didn’t think it adequate at all. Nor did she think concentrating against the weaker enemy was at all adequate. You must always concentrate against the schwerpunkt, she thought to herself, but it didn’t matter. It wasn’t her job to plan Grand Strategy for the Federation, not until she’d proved herself.

That, and she was fairly confident of her ability to defeat Sisko. Not to simply hold him, but to defeat him. “I see my instructions are to hold Sisko in the Ceti sector to prevent his further advance while the offensive continues, is that correct, Admiral Milano?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“I have, I presume, total tactical latitude in conducting the actual engagements as I deem appropriate to achieve this strategic aim?”

Milano looked suspicious for a moment, and then, shrugged. “If you think it’s going to help us win, Admiral, I’m going to trust you to do things your way and get results. That’s what you were hired to do, and if we didn’t trust you to do that you wouldn’t have been hired. Take any action necessary to stop Sisko’s advance.”

“Thank you very kindly.” Slyperia flicked an ear lightly. “I have my orders, Sir, and they will be executed.”

“Very good. Milano out.” The screen went blank before her.

Slyperia’s ears flattened for a moment, and then she laughed, and got up. “Computer! Cocoa, spiced, Aztec.” She had always been notorious for having a spice tolerance from her academy days forward. By Taloran standards, of course, that meant being able to survive having a sprinkle of chili pepper in your drink. The fact there were things stronger than that still disturbed her.

She set the mug in the replicator and watched as the new cocoa appeared in it. Replicating cups and saucers had been banned as part of an initiative to save anti-matter due to the massive war mobilization, and she thought that good.

Now her problem was explaining to her crew her plans, and to her squadron commanders and other subordinates, and doing it in a way that encouraged them. That made them think outside the box—outside the box of their own limitations, to come up with the necessary answers for not merely a defensive, but an operation to yield a sizeable tactical victory. This was the only outcome suitable for her, Slyperia felt, and with sufficient motivation of her people it could be achieved. But the trick was sincerely stoking their morale for the challenge, not merely imposing upon them a directive to achieve what was apparently impossible.

Then she stepped back to her desk and downloaded the star charts for the Ceti sector onto a padd, and stepped out onto the bridge. “Lieutenant Amara, order all the senior officers to report to Holodeck 1 at 2030 hours. Send a signal to the fleet directing the Squadron Commanders to do the same. And please ask Commander Soleta to meet me there at once.”

“Aye aye, Admiral.” The Ethiopian woman smartly turned back to the operations console from which, in Earth orbit, she had control over the bridge as the watchstanding officer and started sending out the directives. Slyperia stepped into the turbolift and went below.

Commander Soleta, being as proficient and competent as she was, arrived about five minutes after Slyperia as she was still going through the holodeck databases.


“Primus, I’m looking for something here, ah yes.” She tapped out a final set of commands, and the two of them stood in a holo mockup of a system in the Ceti sector. The information for it was quite interesting, and brought Soleta up short.

“That is the Mutara Nebula and associated systems, within the Ceti sector and close to the Ceti Alpha system, correct?”

“That’s accurate, Primus. We will be fighting a battle here. I am to take it that the history of the sector, as illustrious and storied as it is, is somewhat acquainted to most Starfleet officers?”

“That is correct, though of course, the older configuration of the Nebula, before it re-formed on the collapse of the Genesis system.”

“Adequate enough,” Slyperia replied. “We will be studying the system at length, as it is where Admiral Milano has instructed us to halt Sisko with First Fleet while the rest of Starfleet is concentrated to deal with the revolt in the Beta Quadrant first—the weaker half of the Colonials.”

“I estimate from your tone and our prior discussions that you don’t find that to be a correct course of action, Admiral.”

“I do not. You should concentrate against—ah, there is no good word in English, but,” a pause. “Computer, please identify the nearest human word to Mhitaika.”

“For closest linguistic meaning and practical effect, Schwerpunkt, in the old Earth German,” the computer supplied a moment later. “It can be reproduced in English by the phrase ‘Point of Focus’.”

“The concentration of maximum military force against the enemy’s strength, because after its elimination each further combat will become successively easier even if you sustained severe losses,” Soleta observed softly. “A naval variation in old Earth military history being the N-squared Law.”

“That is correct, I believe,” Slyperia answered, and turned to face her Commander. “So, I am absolutely against the decision of headquarters. But we are officers, and we will obey.”

“But we are also Starfleet officers, and we have a duty to see to the best possible outcome for the Federation.”

“Yes! Precisely. We will therefore need to stop Sisko’s offensive—by defeating him tactically on the battlefield and throwing him off of it, clearing our sector and driving them back toward their native colonies. While being outnumbered, and attacking with a single fleet. I do have the authority to do this, at least; it was explicitly with Milano’s consent that I am allowed to operate tactically in any way that I see fit. So we will base our actions upon that latitude and prepare for victory in this system. Tonight when the command staffs of the fleet assemble, we will be using this model quite heavily to prepare for our further drills and simulations over the next three weeks.”

“But you have something else in mind, as well?”

“I love how perceptive you are.” Slyperia’s ears flicked up. “Jeryllyn would have loved you just as much—you’re good officer material, Commander Soleta. Never doubt it. At any rate, yes. Our objective will be to use our ingenuity to come up with a variety of ways to reproduce in space the curious outcome of a famous pair of battles I looked up, a similar situation in Earth history. Tonight, I will illustrate it to the squadron commanders, and then I will ask them to proceed from that example to find ways to make it a reality, with modern starships, in space, and with Starfleet thinking and the tactics we have already prepared.

“It’s called the Battle of Jena-Auerstädt, and the second half of it was the product of an enlightened and brilliant mind, more pure than the conquest-driven thoughts of Napoléon Bonaparte himself and,” she indulged the Federation mindset, “deserving to live in a better time like our own. We’ll meet him tonight in the holodeck, since I’ve found it to be very much the preferred training tool for the Federation. His name is Louis-Nicolas Davout and he did what I want you to find a way to recreate against Sisko. That will be a challenge for our shared ingenuity and creativity. If we find a way, we will execute it. Otherwise, well, our defensive action will be fully within the objectives it is demanded.

“But Starfleet likes challenges, and I think First Fleet is up to the task for this one… Come on, let’s start with the stellar cartography of the Ceti sector ourselves before the squadron commanders arrive to begin our little history lesson. I want the two of us to be very sure of ourselves. Sisko will be unforgiving of mistakes—but so will I.”
Last edited by The Duchess of Zeon on 2013-01-15 09:15pm, edited 1 time in total.
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In 1966 the Soviets find something on the dark side of the Moon. In 2104 they come back. -- Red Banner / White Star, a nBSG continuation story. Updated to Chapter 4.0 -- 14 January 2013.

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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by lord Martiya » 2013-01-15 05:59pm

Finally! And the future of the story looks promising. Hope we'll read more soon... And that I'll have something better to say.

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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by Themightytom » 2013-01-16 02:29pm

Is TGG arranged in order any where? I was kind of following the stargate arc, and now we're back to this one.

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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by Morningstar » 2013-01-16 02:56pm

There is a list of stories with dates here: http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=126475
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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2013-01-18 02:03am

Outer Sol System
United Federation of Planets
Universe Designate ST-3
3 June 2166 AST
26 December 2380 ST-3 Calendar

“In recognition of human traditions in the Old Earth Commonwealth holiday of Boxing Day,” Commander Soleta’s voice sounded through the fleet, “and the unfortunate dictates of the war that require us to deploy on it, it is Admiral Mhanahkiu’s directive that Replicator Rations be unlimited for the rest of today.

“At this time, fleet deployment orders for the defensive formation redeployment from the Sol system to Starbase 11 are now in effect. The fleet is to engage warp drive in phase by squadron starting with the vanguard as planned and reassemble by squadron and section at Starbase 11. All squadrons report as proceeding to warp. Commander Soleta for Admiral Mhanahkiu, out.”

The screen blinked off, as Slyperia stepped out of her ready room onto the bridge, where Soleta was sitting in the command chair of the Admiral Senyavin. “Bring up the holo-emitters. Let’s watch the fleet go.”

“Holo-emitters, on.” Lieutenant Commander T’Klara, a dark skinned Vulcan at tactical—making her the second Vulcan on Slyperia’s bridge crew for the Senyavin—brought up the tactical holo-plot they had retrofitted to the bridge, creating a seamless 3-d projection with overlay from the main screens.

What they revealed was an utterly beautiful and very impressive sight. It was First Fleet in its full glory going out to war, all of the beautiful light grey hulls of federation starship after starship. Some of them were as old as rebuilt Constitution-class cruisers which were nothing of the sort these days. They had well more than five hundred starships in First Fleet warping out in front of them, which was no surprise considering it was the First Fleet of the United Federation of Planets. A big, hard-hitting force which had not yet been attrited in the war.

And it was graceful, in a way, once the shapes and forms of the Federation ships grew upon you after a few repeated viewings—at least from the perspective of an outsider. To someone who grew up in the Federation, they had always been lovely. The bridge crew admired it for a very long while, since there were twenty-one ships in each squadron and at least five squadrons in each of the five sections or divisions of the fleet: Scouting Division, Reserve Grand Division (six squadrons), Left Grand Division (six squadrons), Right Grand Division (likewise six), Centre Division. It was a rough and ad-hoc fleet organisation, but it had some real chance of working quite successfully if handled well.

And then, at last, there was only the Command Squadron, separate from the rest, and part of the reserve. It was Slyperia’s, and it was immense in its power. There were 37 ships in it, twenty-eight of which were Taloran and nine of Starfleet origin.. And mostly very large and powerful, the sole Galaxy in the fleet (they were rather rare ships), a Flight III, rounding it out since Slyperia hadn’t found a better place for her. Collectively, then, her fleet was registering a list strength of six hundred and twenty-four ships.

And then Soleta sent the signal to the rest of the Command Squadron. Slyperia smiled charitably and gave the order herself. “Helm!” She addressed the sharp-eyed mestizo human sitting steadily at the console, which on this ship was none of the modern LCARS but had some feel of real interactivity. He looked back, and Slyperia just lightly whisked a finger toward the main screen. “Warp speed, Mister Salazar. Take us out.” The stars streaked.

It was an odd mishmash; the Taloran ships looked none too pretty to the Federation eye, though they did come off as solid, and intimidating with the guns so large, so obviously guns, as to still have dedicated turrets, and for the ships to be absolutely studded with them at that. The four battleships were also larger than anything the Federation had built before in tonnage, if not as large in absolute dimensions as the spindly Admiral Senyavin. They had the fighting power of older Alliance Dreadnoughts, and since older Alliance Dreadnoughts were exactly what the Colonials were relying upon in their fleet, that was rather helpful. Short-legged ships, they were actually better defensively due to the space put into armour on them.

Slyperia watched the warp effects she had grown comfortable with over the past months. It was quite a bit more pleasant than the jarring fifteen seconds maximum—the exact time was never easily explained—of a Dristania jump, the sickness, the distorted reality if you dared look at visuals. Like going very, very fast with gravitic drives, really.

She regarded it for another long moment. For the first time in long decades, she was flinging a fleet forward under her command. The situation she was doing it in was, for a disciple of Jeryllyn Lictor, suitably bad. Starbase 11 had been a support base well behind the lines of the Federation’s frontiers… At the start of Kirk’s original Five Year Mission with the NCC-1701; it was quite storied in the history of Starfleet that she had studied. And that also explained just how terrible it was that the fleet was being driven back onto it as a point of concentration for eminent defensive battle. Construction on the asteroid-based Starbase, with its large internal ship repair hangar in orbit of the gas giant Yko, had started as early as 2151.

Now it was being used as the concentration and supply point for a fleet to keep Benjamin Sisko’s rebels out of the Federation core worlds. And that was an unenviable position. But beyond it, turning out toward the Alpha Quadrant, toward the colonies close to the frontier with the Maquis, her objective sector. And even if her ambitions were not met, she was quite certain that she could turn Ceti into a blazing hell for the Colonials which would slow them down within the fullest of the objectives set out for her by Admiral Milano and Starfleet Command. Sisko was very good… But the Federation had no real equivalent to a Naval General Staff college; and he had learned his job through trial and error. There were holes to exploit, and thanks to the records of the battles fought, they were already known.

What weaknesses she had—and she knew she, like all people, had some—were, conversely, more or less an unknown quantity. And she was not going to squander that advantage on a defensive battle if she could help it.

“Commander Soleta, if you’d come to my ready room with me? Mister T’Klara, you have the bridge.”

“Aye,” the second Vulcan woman answered as she stepped forward to the command chair, as Soleta wordlessly vacated it and followed her into her ready room.


“Soleta,” she offered now, a bit more informally. “We are not really going to be able to do that much while in transit. And I wanted to speak of culture with you, particularly, of the history of Vulcan culture. I should like to learn more of it.”

…Soleta hesitated. “It is a complicated subject, Admiral. Certainly an involved one. There is much to be proud of, and much to criticize, as with all cultures. I am perhaps not the best for it. I find some deterministic aspects of requiring individuals of the various species of the federation to conform exactly with their native culture to be discomforting, as we have discussed in the past. Therefore, it is a personal subject to me.”

“Very well, then. I will not ask for much, or anything that would make you uncomfortable. Share with me only that which does not violate such. And, well.” Slyperia flicked an ear in a bemused Taloran gesture. “You will have the satisfaction at the same time of beating me at Four-Dimensional Chess. I desperately wish to get better at it, but since I was only introduced a few months ago, and time has been rather.. Short, for personal amusements…”

Soleta raised an eyebrow. “I would be honoured, Admiral. You have an agreement. Shall we begin … with the chess?”

Slyperia laughed shortly. “Certainly. The humility from being beaten at games of strategy before battle is of great value, at any rate.”

“I shall take your word on that, Admiral. Computer, materialize 4-dimensional chess set.”

The old Taloran Admiral thought it was nonsense that Vulcans showed no emotion. Now that she had gotten used to Soleta it was surely clear that she did! By Starfleet standards the woman was quite refreshing, really. She would make an apt pupil and go far if she survived the war. “One thing to note about our operational planning, before we start.”

“Yes, Admiral?”

“Just because I accepted the usual Starfleet norms for fleet command with the Admiral Senyavin does not actually mean I will personally have time to command the ship. You will be directing all of her actions in the engagement. I have every faith that the responsibilities of my command of her will devolve to you with the greatest of success and skill and that together as a working team we will make much of her in the battle to come, as well as the whole of First Fleet.”

“Thank you, Admiral.” And this time there was no hiding the hint of a grin from Soleta, however suppressed and faint. “I am pleased with the faith in me you show and will do my utmost to rise to the responsibility of that position.”

“Of this I have no doubt, Soleta. Ah well. Shall we begin?”


((Author's Note: Two more updates after this one posted by me will be done to this story. At that point, Steve will be taking it back over, though I will contribute to make contributions to his posts, they will be his posts and posted by him. Don't worry, though! I've secured his guarantee that the story will in fact be carried on to its completion, so stay tuned!))
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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by Simon_Jester » 2013-01-18 03:40am

I have this image in my head- I'm not sure it's in character but I feel like it is- of Slyperia looking disdainfully at some Fed officer and saying:

"Do you mean to tell me Starfleet engineers have forgotten how to improvise?"

I don't know why, but I find it amusing.
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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by Themightytom » 2013-01-18 02:03pm

Am I the only one that thinks Soleta would be an amazing spy here?

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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2013-01-20 03:46am

FRLS Tarawa,
Starbase 67, Reynolds System
Colonial Territory (New Gdansk-R'Toak Confederacy)
Universe Designate ST-3
3 June 2166 AST
26 December 2380 ST-3 Calendar

I am a modern hairo: my name is Paddy Kearney;
Not long ago, I landed from the bogs of sweet Killarney;
I used to cry out: SOAP FAT! bekase that was my trade, sir,
Till I 'listed for a Soger-boy wid Corcoran's brigade, sir.

For to fight for Uncle Sam;
He'll lade us on to glory, O!
He'll lade us on to glory, O!
To save the Stripes and Stars!

A line of laughter ripped through the Pilot’s Mess when the song continued and shotglasses filled with Jeremiah Weed were hoisted. “To Irish Volunteers, Paddy O!”

They raised their glasses to Commander Patrick Carnahan, group commander of the FRLS Normandy who had taken a rank cut to second in command of the group to get on this mission, and battened down the hatches once again.

“My little Armalite!” one of the pilots roared out. The pilots quickly launched into the next song, and with the door to the mess open, it could be heard damned near through half the ship as they slugged back another shot of Weed to celebrate.

“Why the fuck do we drink this stuff?” One short woman by the door, tilting her chair back into the wall, finally blurted out.

“It’s the heater in your chest!” A wag shouted from down the table. “Doubles life expectancy in vacuum!”

“Because a long time ago, Daria, they’d banned Mary-Hu-Anna, and so this way pilots could say they were takin’ Weed!”

“Weed! Fuckin’ Weed! Well, I heard it diffrent you see, I heard it has to do with a famous battle in the United States centuries ago, they called it the Battle of Red Flag…”

“ATTEN-SHUN!” Shot glasses clattered down to the table and bottles of Jeremiah Weed were slapped into place while the pilots leapt to their feet and came to attention.

“Damn all you drunks!” A woman’s voice roared. “We’re going to have an inspection tour by this Admiral Ross leadin’ the Colonials in two bliddy hours! You hear that we’re not to see action for at least two more weeks and yah all get bliddy drunk off yer asses… I didn’t read nuthin’ in Die Afrikaanse Bybel that said drinkin’ was next to godliness! Y’all a buncha pagan Irish drunkards, damnit. This ship might’ve been first to Kilrah, but you’re all first to the pisser!”

“Cap’n!” Jozef Dworkoski, the CAG, saluted… With a bottle of Weed still in his hand.

“You old Cossack,” the woman laughed, and showed her shining rows of brilliant teeth as she did, tightly coiled curly hair shaking loose from her Aussie-style slouch hat over butternut that blended beautifully with her dark complexion. Joanna Kruger didn’t mind at all laying claim to the title of Bruin Afrikaner, and was known mostly in the fleet as the spitting image in combat—even if about as far in physical appearance—as one could be to her illegitimate father, Hans Maximillian Kruger, the President of the Free Republic of the Landreich. “I trust you with that American Rotgut, you fight better with a shot in you than you do sober.” She dropped the mock accent, but also got a lot more serious.

“Alright, look. This Ross chap, we don’t know him yet. We don’t want to make a terrible impression with our own Freikorps, right? And, just remember that these bastards have stealth devices and spies everywhere and they’re more underhanded than a Kilrathi could dream of. It’s been six years since the damned truce, and we’re here to make sure that the Free Republic and the Border Worlds don’t go all soft for when the Kilrathi come across the border. And we know they’ll come!

“So, anyhow, watch your drinking, and for all your singing all these songs, yeah, yeah, Irishmen revolt against Empires but remember we’re all bound to come off an awful like a bunch of drunken terrorists and pirates to some outsiders if we don’t act ship-shape. These Colonials is more civilized folk than the Landreich, you might say—the Maquis are our closer peers—so be on your best behaviour and try to limit the number of barfights. My father’s reputation is one for us all to stand on,” she referenced the populist president with a great deal of fervent respect… For all some people sometimes wondered why he just kept winning elections by absurd margins.

“And that’s a reputation of calmness under fire.”

There was a long, significant pause. And then Joanna just laughed and shook her head. “Oh fuck me. That stuff tastes like they mixed lysol and gasoline together. If you drink it voluntarily, you’re all helpless. Just nobody slug some Admiral in the face or alien from some honour clan that mixes us up in some thousand year war, mmkay?”

“Aye, Aye, Captain!”

“Damn straight. Dis-miss.” She pulled her slouch hat off, and shaking her head, turned out of the pilot’s mess. She had not exactly been given the most professional or best pilots in the Landreich. More like the hardest fighting, hardest drinking. And that meant that most of them had been drummed out of the Terran Confederation Navy for problems like drunkenness and insubordination, especially with the Long Truce meaning that any kind of disobedient behaviour that would have been ignored in wartime was cracked down on swift and hard by the Confies in peace.

And then… “God damn them.” They’d started singing The Risin’ O the Moon that time. Joanna just shook her head. She had thought she’d learned a lot from her father, but with this mission the quiet backbiting over nepotism had resumed and she was feeling a bit more pressured, especially since that was surely partly behind the misfits in the ranks of their forty-eight fighters and their pilots.

But between the Tarawa and the two Border Worlds destroyers the Glowworm and Gaspé formed the Freikorps that they had collectively sent to thumb their noses at the Confies, gain battle experience, and stand up for something when even the usually friendly Alliance was proving completely unwilling to help the revolting Colonials in any meaningful fashion.

And that was the damned thing about it. The Landreich Council and the Assembly House of the Border Worlds couldn’t figure out what Dale was up to, not supporting the Confederation. It seemed like the perfect chance to secure freedom and liberty for the colonies in ST-3, and the two states had always seen themselves as especially close to the Alliance, which had politely but assertively defended their liberty against the Confederation at the same time that they had acted to prevent further Kilrathi attacks upon the Confies.

The Confies were ungrateful bastards about it, really. Loaning only a few old light carriers to the Alliance during the late Dominion War, Kruger had conversely provided a sizable portion of the Landreich Navy to the effort, and gotten the Border Worlds to send a destroyer squadron as well. They had been sent to the CON-5 universe and mostly been used in escorting convoys behind the lines while the Alliance did the heavy lifting against Plymouth, but it had been the principle of it that mattered, and Joanna and a lot of Landreich officers were frustrated to see the Alliance steering away from its traditionally muscular and assertive pro-colonial-independence policies and more toward the behaviour of one of the big, established Earth governments that they detested.

Still, there was some hope in leading by example, and it was for that reason that Joanna was heading down to the hangar bay right now. They’d fight, and they’d send supplies through, and they’d certainly already recognized the Colonials as an independent state, and they’d be damned if they’d let the Alliance stop them! They were the Free Landreich, and that meant they’d indeed always be ready to form up—pike on the shoulder by the rising of the moon.

Joanna shook her head and laughed. Her pilots were incorrigible, but it was the spirit of her homeland, and she didn’t doubt that they’d fight just as well as any wing of Confies when the bullet hit the bone.
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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by Steve » 2013-01-20 07:42am

UCS Indefatigable
Near the Mutara Nebula
4 June 2166 AST

It had taken the better part of a century, but Mutara Nebula was finally getting restored the normal, though it was still filled with the chunks of rock and other pieces that told of the planet that had once existed here, a creation of science marred by one man's impatience that had, itself, been destroyed within months.

Sisko was staring quietly at this legendary battle site, thinking of Kirk's battle with Khan. One of them had been a genetically enhanced superman, with an unrivaled intellect... but the other had the benefit of raw experience, and had outmaneuvered his stronger foe by taking advantage of that.

"Sir, we've had another communication from the Pacificans," one of his officers announced. "Their scouts are detecting an increase in Starfleet activity facing them. It looks like the bulk of the enemy will be directed at them and they're asking you to maneuver farther into the Core."

"Send a response affirming our receiving the report and intention to make the enemy pay if they try anything like that," was his answer. He went back into his thoughts again. If they focused enough firepower to really threaten the Beta Quadrant worlds, then they were opening themselves up for his fleet to hit the Core hard... and they had to know that. Just what was this Taloran Admiral planning with Leyton?

"And Captain Picard has confirmed success in talks on Trill with the pro-Federation..."

Sisko waved him off. Right now he had more important things to worry about. The Colonial Forces were stretched out, the enemy was concentrating.... he had to be ready for what was to come.

U.S.S. Enterprise
In Orbit over Trill

Jean-Luc Picard sat quietly in his ready room, looking over reports from his ship and those Starfleet vessels that had come under his command. Many of them were officers who had served with him or under him in the past, or those who considered him a peer, and all remained loyal to the ideals of the Federation.

Ideals that both sides of this war profess to follow... but neither of which are willing to embrace in their entirety.

The door chime took Picard out of his ruminations. "Enter," he called out.

When the door slid open, it was Data who came in. The uniform shirt he wore was red now, with the three gold pips of a Commander. "I have all personnel reports for your perusal, sir."

"Ah, good."

"Commander Vale and Lieutenant Choudhury have finished their assessment of our further refits as well. I have included them." Data handed Picard a PADD and remained still. "Sir, I trust the talks on the planet have gone well?"

"They are proceeding satisfactorily. Reuniting the Trill will, unfortunately, be much easier than ending this conflict." Picard drew in a breath. "I keep replaying the attack by the Titan in my mind, Data, and wondering if we had to defend ourselves as we did..."

"You made the right choice, sir," Data assured him. "And by my assessments... I am not sure Captain Riker was in command."

"Oh?" Like that would make it any better, Picard mused darkly.

"The tactical maneuvers undertaken by the Titan did not match Captain Riker's standard tactics... and showed a unfamiliarity with the Enterprise's defenses that indicate he was not issuing the orders." Data remained quiet for a moment. "I know it is small consolation..."

"Yes." Picard nodded briefly. "That will be all, Mister Data."

"Yes sir."

After Data stepped out Picard looked back to the planet spinning below them. The Trill had suffered so much... and even as he sat here, the people of the Federation were suffering just as horribly. As much as the Federation's problems had driven them to this terrible day.... Picard shook his head. If there was a way to end this war without the destruction of one side's total defeat, he would find it. He had to.

Otherwise.... there wouldn't be a future for any of them.

Paris, Earth, United Federation of Planets

When Dietrich Burchardt had been appointed Allied Nations Ambassador to the United Federation of Planets in 2163, the Hamburg man had been warned by his predecessor, Iason Parmika, to expect constant harassment from Federation pacifists and all sorts of other annoyances from this peculiar, now failing body. It came with the job. And Burchardt just had to live with it.

Like, say, attending a banquet honoring the birthday of "Commissioner" Virshk th'Raavik's firstborn child... and the less a diplomat like Burchardt said about that fascist trash, the better for his job and mission.

Oh, he'd tried to get out of it. But his damned Charges d'Affairs had cleverly picked this week for his leave home and Washington was adamant; with the situation growing tense a further breach with the Federation could not be tolerated, and with the invitation coming from the office of President Ovnork (meaning of course it had been issued by Ideologue Party Clerk Wilmington) Burchardt could not snub it without creating a further perception of a breach.

So he'd come in proper dress wear, enjoying the food and the drink as best he could and spending much of his time speaking with his Lyran and British counterparts. The Taloran Ambassador was fashionably late, the result of a late dispatch from Valera that made Burchardt envy him, and Mr. Fusukawa of the Holy Roman Empire was in attendance as consul-in-standing for Vienna. His continued discussions with Wilmington made Burchardt feel nervous. It's bad enough the Talorans are letting the Federation buy ships and officers... if the Habsburgs throw in their lot too Washington will have to respond.

"Mister Ambassador!" The voice was rich and hearty, and it couldn't help but draw Burchardt's attention. Admiral Hector Milano of Starfleet was the Goering to Virshk's Hitler, but Burchardt couldn't say something like that aloud. He presented a cool face as Milano offered his hand, which Burchardt shook while pondering how hard it'd be for him to wash the blood off. "I'm pleased you could make it. It's always good to see our relationship with the Alliance remaining solid."

"You wouldn't know that given the constant protests," Burchardt pointed out with false amiability. "And I believe your office also signed the demand that the Alliance arrest volunteers to the Colonials."

"Well, we must keep up forms, but your government has remained solidly neutral, and that is, to me, good enough," Milano responded. "Hopefully many of your people will realize what a waste of effort they're going through and will save themselves."

"Very strong words when the Federation is on the cusp of defeat," Burchardt answered candidly.

"Temporary setbacks, nothing more," Milano assured him. "Starfleet is recovering and the rebellion, well, they'll soon see the errors of their ways."

And Burchardt's patience slipped a little, as his next remark had a clear edge to it. "You mean those who survive the re-education camps."

Milano looked at him in bewilderment. "Ambassador, please. Penal colonies are not anything like what the places you liberated our people from when you crushed Cardassia. But they are traitors... we have to deal with them somehow. Exile will only give them a base to incite further violence, after all. Like, say..." Milano was clearly hiding a smile as he finished the thought. "...the Blakists. They escaped into exile and now the Alliance is losing control of Terra MWB-32 to them. Are you telling me you wouldn't have incarcerated the Blakist leadership and their most devoted followers."

"A simplistic analogy," Burchardt answered.

"Most are, but it's got truth to it," Milano answered. "I hope you understand, Ambassador, that the Association for Federation Unity is different from what you'[re used to. We don't hate you... we look up to you."

"Oh really?" Burchardt didn't bother to hide his skepticism.

"The Federation was stagnating, Mister Ambassador. It would not have survived the Borg or the Dominion without the Alliance's example. We know now that we need force and power, not speeches. Instead of worlds laughing at Starfleet they need to fear it. Just like they fear the Alliance military."

"Fear is a terrible way to rule."

"Not rule. Simply... influence." Milano shrugged. "Honestly, we're just applying the Alliance's example. If we see a threat, we'll neutralize it as best as we can instead of offering tribute to it in the hopes of being left alone. Under the AFU there will be no more Maquis."

The phrase was, on the face of it, innocent. A declaration that never again would the Federation, with the AFU in charge, sign an unfavorable treaty that would lead to something like the Maquis. But Burchardt thought he could hear a bit of an emphasis on that, a bit of indication that Milano was being more literal about the Maquis in particular.

"The Narn leader G'Kar once said that no occupation army could hold down a population forever," Burchardt noted. "That there is no power greater in the universe than the need for freedom."

"An agreeable sentiment," Milano replied. "He was completely right, of course. Speaking of such, are things on Terra MWB-32 that bad?"

"Things aren't well, true. About as bad as, say... Tagus IV? Or how about Rexis Beta III? That bit of Rigel you've managed to hold?"

Milano gave no outright response to the digs at the Federation's own occupations. "We're not an occupying army, Ambassador, we're just there to put down renegades who have forced those worlds into secession."

"And the people of those worlds would agree with you?"

"About as much as the Plymouthites do you, I imagine," Milano replied amiably. "Or the Canopians.... are you telling me, Mister Ambassador, that any nation in the Alliance, or group of nations, would be permitted to pack up and leave if they were caught breaking the law? That we don't have the right to enforce our own laws?"

"Laws that violate older laws, and the traditions of the nation or nations in question, should be resisted," Burchardt snapped.

"So the Canopians should be allowed to bring back indentured servitude and gender-bias in their civil law," Milano retorted. "That is their tradition, wasn't it? Before your dear friend Danai forced reform down the Magistracy's throat."

"Magestrix Danai's reforms are by the popular demands of her people."

"You mean her people after having the fires stoked by her military veterans? We of the AFU have taken the lessons of the Violet Revolution to heart, honestly..."

Burchardt shook his head. "You'll do anything, say anything, to justify whatever crimes you want to commit. You'll snatch freedom from billions and justify it with platitudes."

"I believe, Ambassador, that such is the usual work of governments. Now, if you'll excuse me," Milano smirked. "The guest of honor is arriving."

Burchadt tried not to snarl as the Starfleet C-in-C walked off.

Penal Colony, Near Mirabad, Afghanistan
Earth, United Federation of Planets
7 June 2160 AST

New Zealand was the preferred site for the criminals of the Federation, but for those who were considered too violent or too prone to provoking their fellow inmates... there was Afghanistan.

Granted, most of Afghanistan was peaceful. Earth Government-owned collective farms and ranches tended to by the locals who still, often, wore the favored garb of their ancestors, though the hovercars and transporter assemblies showed that even this corner of the world was firmly in the 24th Century. At the southern edge of Afghanistan was the desert that had once wrecked Alexander the Great's army... and it was at this edge that the Special Containment Penal Colony was kept. Its occupants were those of such violence that even medicinal efforts failed, or were of such political radicalism that to put them in New Zealand invited them to converting those prisoners into followers.

That last reason was the primary one for Mirabad's newest occupant.

Deborah Miller sat alone in her cell, staring at the sheets she had tied together meticulously. Hot tears continued to flow down the old woman's cheeks as she dwelled on the ruin of everything she had believed in. The loss was complete; the bacillus of militarism she had once driven into remission had resurged to seize her Federation, aided by the blood-stained militarism of the Alliance and the barbaric Multiverse that had spawned it. She had believed she could make the Federation into an oasis of peace and harmony in that barbarous sea....

Now, after suffering the contempt of militarists like Nicolas Mamatmas and John Sheridan, the trickery of evil men like Hanse Davion and Uvil Keve, her dreams were dashed. The Alliance had corrupted the Federation thoroughly; even good men like Jean-Luc Picard were falling to the bloodlust, and that monster Ben Sisko was killing innocents every day. Ovnork was weak; the agents of militarism now ran rampant over her Federation.

Miller had tried to stop them. She'd rallied her followers, demanded peace over the brutality of civil war... and this was the result. The militarists had set forth their hounds, people tricked into violence believing it the only way to survive, and set upon her followers. Indeed, even many of those she found peeled away. The hated AFU was offering them the assurance of continued benefits and charged PAPAL would see the colonies severed and the Core starved, refusing to believe in Miller's plans for a peaceful restoration of the Federation.

So Miller wept. Everything would be deluged in blood now. Billions would die and eventually even star travel denied to them, the lust for blood leading to the annihilation of the infrastructure that made starflight possible.

She stood up and got onto the metal chair provided her in the cell. As tears obscured her vision Miller knotted one end of the sheets around the light fixture. The other she wrapped around her neck. She fumbled with the sheet as she tied it securely.

A part of her hesitated. She... she didn't want to die. She was afraid.

But... it was over. Her life was for nothing. There was no hope left, only blood.

She finished tying the knot at the back of her neck. And then.... she kicked the chair out from under her.

There was pain, a little blood.... and then, for Deborah Miller, the failed savior of Multiversal Peace... there was the mercy of oblivion.
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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2013-01-21 02:27am

Starbase 11
Yko System
Universe Designate ST-3
8 June 2166 AST
31 December 2380 ST-3 Calendar

The inhabitants of the Ceres-sized planetoid had right to be relieved. Starbase 11 was built on a moon of the Gas Giant Yko (which unimaginatively shared its name with its system). The gravity of 0.028g was low enough that it was possible for massive starship maintenance facilities to be built into the planetoid, as maneouvring thrusters could easily handle the gravity to correctly orient even the largest starships for docking in the large underground facility. They could even handle Taloran battleships, having been designed for the Federation II class during an expansion in the pre-Khitomer days. Since it was classified as a Starbase rather than a planet, anti-matter reactors could provide power, which let the entire body experience artificial gravity of 0.85g, enough to be comfortable and normal for all humanoid species of the UFP, except for the starship maintenance facilities which were kept at natural gravity.

Unlike a more modern purpose built starbase, then, there was a substantial area for inhabitation. Though underground living had always been unpopular for most species of the Federation, or the construction of space colonies, the surface was large enough for a regular population which had grown quite sizeable, while still being small enough that it could be fully enclosed by theatre shields, unlike a normal full-sized colony world. This meant a regular population of more than forty million Federation citizens lived on the surface, in an unusual arrangement as instead of being a charter colony or a member world and its dependents, the surface was under the administration of Starfleet Command.

This had meant that for a very long time the Starbase had served as ‘the retirement community of Starfleet’, as the regulations and connections with the fleet meant that former Starfleet personnel and shipyard workers and their families were the main regular inhabitants. A substantial part of the population had quietly left as the civil war broke out, whereas refugee Ideologues had settled in their homes as they came fleeing in from Colonial seized parts of the Federation.

First Fleet’s arrival had accordingly been judged a great salvation. The shattered remnants of several other fleets were already in orbit. What was left of Janeway’s 4th Fleet, and a few other smaller fleets. Many intact vessels had already been reassigned to other fleets, so it was only the badly battle-damaged ships left, which Starbase 11 had had the facilities to repair, as well as some more horribly old ships, mostly Miranda class, in the mothball fleet there which had been reactivated. Eighty-two more ships in all, and none of them that Slyperia found very worthwhile.

Most importantly, though, they would not be retreating anymore. Ahead of them and into the Alpha Quadrant, the next sector over, was the Ceti Sector, and it was there that they would be making their stand against Sisko’s fleet. A fleet which was already moving into the sector in strength of numbers. First Fleet had arrived not a moment too soon.

In contrast, they were less sure of what to think of Slyperia herself. Her uniform was worthy of the old days of Kirk, a retro throwback of shimmering colours. It was splendid, but not standard, and Talorans cut an odd figure. They were humanoid, but not so human-derived as many of the more truly humanform species of the Alpha and Beta quadrants which owed their heritage to a single genetic code. The Talorans shared genes with humans, to be sure, but their tall and lean forms gave them something of the hint of a mesolithic stone carving, a species of whirling and curving forms, capable of graceful dancing or tragicomic pretension in their dealings, as consumed with honour as Klingons and yet focused on building up and making good the world, rather than endless war.

She was not a conventional Starfleeter, not raised in the Federation or beholden to its traditions, and there was a subtle hesitancy there. Nonetheless, they recognized that the Starfleeters around her had accepted her. Soleta in particular looked ruthlessly determined in standing by her Admiral’s side, as they settled into the main briefing room on Starbase 11. Admiral Cavuto, the Starbase commander, recognized that Slyperia had been given seniority by her Taloran service time and thus massively outranked him, though he didn’t much have to like it.

A very large projection of the Ceti sector was brought up, while Slyperia dipped chunks of bread into a cream soup of some sort they’d provided to her, a bit diffidently. Admiral Cavuto began a rather long lecture on the position of the Colonial fleet and lack of solid evidence thereof, as well as a detailed and systematic listing of the known ships in it, character of the officers and so on. Slyperia listened politely, not making notes but letting Soleta do so as she felt appropriate.

Finally Slyperia spoke. “Admiral, thank you for the information. Based on revealing Admiral Sisko’s performance in the combats of the war to date, I expect him to be operating from Ambuscade. Based on the greater exploits of Starfleet history of which the Ceti sector is rich, I expect it to be within the Mutara Nebula. Now, it isn’t really an ambush since it’s easily discerned, but what it is, is very powerful ground, since ships can be rotated to different parts of a combat in the sector through the nebula at no risk of being intercepted.

“In short, it is the obvious place, but in being obvious it does not lose any of its advantages. That is the ultimate hallmark of good stellar terrain, or land terrain in battle for that matter: Even if it is quite easy for the enemy to discern you are occupying it, you still retain advantage from doing so.” A pause, her ears showing her sharp attentiveness even if her face never would—and this, Soleta had started to understand. “Now, of course, Sisko knows this and I don’t believe he is going on the offensive at the moment because he is wary. He doesn’t know where, for instance, Third Fleet is going to be, if it will be committed to crushing the Pacificans or if it will be here, with me. I expect he is going to be conducting aggressive reconnaissance around this facility, however, which is why I have the anti-cloak tachyon fields arranged by our pickets.”

“Are you going to stand on the defensive around Starbase 11, then, Admiral? Your orders are to prevent damage to the shipyards,” Cavuto noted a bit nervously. “A close defensive strategy would potentially open them to direct attack.”

“No, I mean to go on the local counterattack in the Ceti Sector.” She pushed the bowl of soup away. “You see, Admiral, using the Mutara Nebula or another nebula of its specific type which is so deletrious to sensors as a bulwark to a position, has its disadvantages. It allows for the absolutely safe redeployment of starships anywhere within a defensive line laid out along it.” A pause. “Or for enemy starships to successfully redeploy behind your lines.”

“Yes, but that just means that Sisko is bound to have a very strong defence in the central sector to keep you from getting into the nebula, Admiral Mhanahkiu, and outnumbers you almost two to one.”

“Correct. He is bound to have a strong defence in the central sector.”

“You have some kind of plan for outmaneouvring it? Unfortunately, we’ve looked, and that doesn’t seem quite possible…”

“Well, I am sure something will present itself. I have been in these sorts of battles before.” Slyperia forced a mild smile to her lips.

Soleta pushed the padd in front of her quietly, with a daring question on it: We’re going to slam straight into their centre, aren’t we?

Almost, Slyperia tapped back. You’re getting good. Then she glanced up again, refusing to explain her battle plan here where she really didn’t trust anyone. “My oaths are to the Federation, and you may be assured, Admiral Cavuto, that this is in her best interests. Thank you, but my only other needs from Starbase 11 are logistical in nature, not tactical.”
Last edited by The Duchess of Zeon on 2013-01-21 02:30am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2013-01-21 02:28am

And that's my last independent contribution (rather than interwoven into a Steve post) to helping restart HAAC! Stay tuned for more from Steve!
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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by Steve » 2013-01-22 03:05am

USS Enterprise, En Route to Ceti Sector
Colony-Occupied Territory
8 June 2166 AST

There was quiet in the ship's Officer's Lounge as the streaks of warped space flew by them. Picard was sitting at one of the tables in the front, staring out into space while battle readiness reports were listed on the PADD before him and other notes on the one in his hand.


Picard looked up to see Data was present. "Mister Data?"

"We are three hours from our rendezvous with the Fleet," Data answered.

"Ah, good." Picard observed to himself that once upon a time Data would have listed that time down to the second. How things change... "Do you remember our first contact mission to the Taloran Colonies in CON-5, Mister Data?"

"It was a very interesting mission, sir. I regret we were not given the chance to traverse their rift and visit their home spaces."

"Yes, it would have been a marvelous opportunity." Picard leaned over in the seat and placed the PADD down. It contained an old report, one of his, about the Taloran culture and sociological developments. "After dining with President Sheridan and Delenn on Minbar and meeting the Councils of State of the Dorei... I cannot help but feel it a lost opportunity to observe their culture and ways."

"They seem to be very peculiar," Data observed. "Their society appears stagnant and unchanging, but it has remained vibrant."

"The history of Taloran civilization is, to my knowledge, longer than that of any presently existing culture in the Alpha or Beta Quadrants. They may be stagnant but they view that as a virtue while we see it as a sign of failure. Penn Station in New York, for example. A monument of stone for the ages from the industrial era, but gone almost as soon as it was built. And how many times have the facades of the President's Palace in Paris been altered to fit the styles of the day?"

"Twenty, by my estimate," Data responded.

"We see that as progress. To the Talorans... it is waste and the hubris of the present to demolish even the recent past. And even with the 'stagnation' we see, they sustain a respectable enough level of technological progress that has let them dominate their galaxy. To us they can behave strangely, even savagely. And yet..." Picard picked up the PADD again, highlighted something on it, and handed it over to Data.

It read: Blessed are those who Build, the Industrious, those who create and uplift. Let hewn rock arise from the worst soils and roads and bridges cover the land to bind together all that is better. Let all the people have plenty, for that is Justice in the eyes of Farzbardor.

Data took only nanoseconds to access his databases. "A quotation from the Prophet Eibermon. It could almost be used as a religious justification for the Basic Necessities Act, could it not?"

"It could." An amused grin crossed Picard's face. "It could also be used to justify rebellion to the Core as it is now. Earth is a such a paradise that many of us have lost the industry, the desire to build, that made the Federation strong."

"The implications could be of particular use with the Federation hiring Taloran officers," Data said. "If their religious teachings emphasize industry... the behavior of the Core World populations in the past generations would not be welcome in their eyes."

"Perhaps not, but they also creatures of honor and duty... more in line with the upper class Klingons of Kirk's era or the conservative Rihannsu of the Empress Ael's rule. And that is the key to understanding Talorans. They have the same rigid adherence to honor that I know from my days as the Arbiter of the Succession, but without the same love of war that the Klingons have embraced. Even the nobility are raised to believe that though life is always a struggle between good and evil, you must create to truly do good."

"It does seem to be a simplistic moral code, sir," Data remarked. "Good and evil as philosophical concepts can vary widely."

"Oh, yes... but there is a common base that crosses all species. There are few moral codes that hold it is okay to harm others without cause, or to allow someone to starve to death or to die through inaction."

"Yet that is precisely what the Prime Directive requires, is it not?"

Picard sat silently for a moment. He couldn't help but recall the case of the Dremans in the second year on the Enterprise-D. At the time it had been regarded as a violation of the Prime Directive to "interfere"... but Picard had done so anyway.

And then there were the Boraalans. There Picard did not act, but Nikolai Rozhenko did, and even if that race would eventually die out anyway without major assistance with genetic engineering, they were still alive now, and they could be saved in the future.

"It can, yes," Picard finally admitted. "But the captain on the scene should judge the situation by its own merits, not by a dogmatic approach to the rule."

"So do you imagine the Talorans view us as on the side of evil, since they have no objection to siding with the Association-dominated government as it is now?

"Actually, I do not think their view is so simplistic as to make every conflict one of good and evil. They are not zealots in that fashipon. It is more likely that their government is just reluctant to condemn other forces it sees as established and legitimate. Sometimes the Talorans themselves are uncomfortable with that support for tradition over strict decision-making based on good and evil. They had a communitarian movement that made such a choice, dismissing tradition over the concept of good versus evil. I think that if they were making decisions entirely on their evaluation of what is Just and what is Unjust... then they would be intervening on our side." And that, Picard realized, was not just true, but a rather profound declaration of the real consequence of the Alliance system that he found he was uncomfortable with. It wasn't the willingness to go to war or the capitalism. It was statecraft based on naked aggression and advantage instead of right and wrong. The Federation's view of state policy was so alien to this that their view on the cause and effect had become distorted. In some way, the two were completely alien to one another.

"Then... if their adherence to tradition can be tilted against the government, they might be inclined to switch sides," Data pointed out.

Picard gave a nod. "If they come to realize that the rule of Jirvshk and his followers is leading to the violation of law and the oathes of Starfleet... then yes, they might very well switch sides, or at least refuse to follow orders in violation of the Starfleet oath and Federation law. But it is unlikely that that the Association's leadership would be so foolish as to give them such an opening. So I fear this will be a moot point."

"Perhaps," Data agreed. "I will go finish our final readiness checks, sir."

"You do that, Mister Data. Because I fear the bloodiest work is yet to come."
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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by White Haven » 2013-01-22 11:18am

"Oh, yes... but there is a common base that crosses all species. There are few moral codes that hold it is okay to harm others without cause, or to allow someone to starve to death or to die through inaction."
This quote seems to ring false coming from Picard, especially while discussing Romulans and Klingons. Also, I can't even begin to picture Picard saying 'okay.'
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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2013-01-22 12:09pm

I'm not sure if that rings false from Picard. He spent a great deal of time finding threads of common moral and ethical understanding with other species, which included some of the very heights of the TNG. On the other hand that word should be "acceptable", yeah.
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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by Steve » 2013-01-23 07:05am

UCS Indefatigable, Near the Mutara Nebula
11 June 2166 AST

The kitchen for the officer's mess was the one place on the ship where Sisko could have any kind of relief from the command burdens he was faced with. The staff there were not so much irritated as amused to see him show up every day and begin putting together a meal for himself and other officers, usually varying between the various New Orleans styles with the occasional unique meal he'd throw in. Today it was a mixture of Bajoran grilling and Punjabi cuisine, a fine treat in the modern fusion style, though with Bajorans and Punjabis living together on several Alliance worlds these days…

Unfortunately, he never got to finish it.

Captain Gregory MacCray's accented voice came over the comms, interrupting the meal with a third left. "Admiral Sisko, long range probes are goin' out. Last readings showed an enemy fleet on the move, they're comin' for a fight. Fast."

So it's starting. Sisko took a breath and looked at his unfinished meal. A damned waste. "Get this put up for later," he ordered one of the kitchen staff. Sisko's hand hit his communicator. "I'm on my way to fleet command. All ships to battlestations."

“Already gave the order for you, Admiral. You’d better run.” Commander Smythe’s voice was incredibly grim and reflected urgency he hadn’t heard out of her before. “They’re coming in at high warp, no skirmishing or scouting lines deployed!”

Sisko’s jaw clenched as he broke into a measured jog for the turbolift, his mind flashing back to the floridly colourful picture of his enemy. What’s she up to?

Admiral Senyavin, Approaching Mutara

Slyperia sat quietly in consideration as her 3-d tactical holoplot showed the formation that Sisko's forces were taking up. He kept the Mutara Nebula behind him, undoubtedly where he had reserves ready to pounce once the fight was under way, exactly as she had expected considering the position, and thus exactly why she had dispensed with scouting and taken the risk of only confirming the dispositions once her attack was already underway. She would have to deal with his reserves in time. Thanks to the Nebula's ability to disrupt shields, she knew how to... and that would come when it was needed. For the moment what mattered was that he had disposed of his fleet as she had expected him to.

"Sisko's main units are indeed in the center," she observed quietly. He had been reading up on Taloran naval tactics. A good trait. But she had been kind enough to give him the benefit of that doubt when preparing for the engagement.

Slyperia certainly understood how the standard and expected engagement would play out. She had served with the woman who wrote the books on their naval tactics, after all… And she had a few ideas of her own on how to keep them fresh. "Take Plan Beta as loaded into the system without modification. Transmit the attack orders now." She didn’t have the same sophisticated command and control systems of even Sisko’s flagship, but she had drilled her crews better, and pre-loaded directives into the system to respond to the actual dispositions of Sisko’s fleet.

“You have the conn, Mister Soleta.” She stepped aside to the tactical chair they had added to the bridge, folding her gloved hands—she was not going into battle without a suit, and insisted therefore on the rest of the crew getting them as well, though unlike on a Taloran ship with DNI communications, they would fight with helmets off and at the ready clipped to the suits, not worn--and flicking her ears to tune out the rest of the bridge. Watching.

Around her, the Admiral Senyavin’s phaser turrets opened up, slewing and tracking, while her heavy phaser arrays tore through one of the targets en passant. The battle with the screen was over in seconds, computer-aided warp strafing at an incredibly high rate of speed, as the pickets and scouts that had prepared to skirmish and then fall back on the main battle-line were instead each hit by phaser and photon torpedo fire from at least six ships. Including the Defiant. Slyperia was already looking to her flanks, both closing with Sisko’s and dropping out of warp. Well before he would have a chance to respond to her very unexpected dispositions. Very unexpected dispositions indeed. I wonder if even the Alliance gets the subtle distinction here, she mused, but shortly enough it was necessary to concern herself strictly with the battle going on, and then, a few minutes after the battle was joined on the flanks, her own leading centre group would come into action. Command force and the reinforcement division from Starbase 11 followed, and her battle was joined.

UCS Defiant

Everyone was at stations and ready for a fight. Dax had the Defiant in formation with other ships of her mass and size deployed forward to scout and support for Sisko's fleet, to provide data on the enemy dispositions and be ready to move as needed and either fall back to reinforce the centre or turn to the flanks to reinforce the main lines with light strafing techniques while intermixed with the enemy lines which were best suited to them. Nog was in Engineering, Worf at weapons, Tenmei at the helm, and everyone else in proper places...

"Warp signatures, coming in fast!" One of the new ensigns at sensors, a Bolian man, showed his nervousness badly with the stress in his voice bleeding into a shout. "Warp 9 point..."

Due to the speed of the enemy ships there was no more time. Several Starfleet vessels, including two Akira-class ships, and at least three Excelsior-class ships lashed out with phaser fire... A Steamrunner got in a few shots, too, and they all seemed focused on the Defiant. The ship rocked repeatedly, consoles began to go off in showers of sparks, and as power failed the lights dimmed. "What the hell?!" As warp strafe attacks went it was devastating... and crazy. The coordination needed to keep ships from slamming into their targets or each other was something Jadzia would have considered impossible thirty seconds ago.

The ships around them came under fire in a similarly ruthless measure as Slyperia’s fleet swept past them with utter disregard for the positions they were attack. Shields flickered and died and hull forms were ripped apart by the merciless onslaught of enemies hitting so fast against relatively stationary targets that there was no defense.

And so the battle was commenced; in the same moment that it started, Defiant was already crippled and knocked out of the fight, and as the cascade of system failures scrolled across Jadzia’s data readouts and Worf pounded his console in fury at only having gotten off two torpedoes that hopelessly missed before weapons power was lost, they all grimly realized that, trapped behind enemy lines with warp core malfunction lights and alarms glaring and keening, they were in a battle for their lives, not with the enemy.

UCS Indefatigable

Sisko watched with cold anger as the attack developed. It had been completely unexpected and fit with nothing he had seen before. The tactics were alien, the number of crossing warp engagements like this could be counted on your fingers that had been initiated by starfleet. Considering that the Talorans didn’t have warp drive he didn’t know where the hell Slyperia had gotten it from, until he remembered that they did have a sort of slow ion-gravitic FTL drive that was functionally similar as a backup FTL. Even then, Sisko couldn’t believe the speed with which it had been conducted. There was something about the attack which struck him as almost projecting arrogance. Not even Klingons would have risked it for the danger of interposition collisions during the warp strafing phase. Slyperia had risked 85% of her fleet with the maneouvre… And they had performed it flawlessly.

As the tactical projections resolved with the final positions of the first wave of ships coming in, it was clear that he had been wrong again, and his anger only redoubled. The enemy fleet came in with a focus on the flanks. Slyperia had done what none would have expected from a Taloran. Even after the unexpected warp strafing attack through Sisko’s picket forces, he would have still expected her to be basically focused on a decisive engagement of strength on strength. Instead, already badly outnumbered, she had willingly concentrated almost 60% of her fleet into the flanks to achieve local superiority.

Red beams and pulses filled the air, spinning photon torpedoes and the dull white light of countless quantum torpedoes. And the Federation starships were firing exclusively quantum torpedoes now, even the oldest ships refitted with them, doing heavy damage to the Colonial vessels as they struck home. A bitter reminder that even now, some very important things—like every factory in the UFP capable of making quantum torpedoes—were exclusively on the other side of the border. With less ships in the fleet from the defections, they could ironically succeed in their old objective of 100% converting.

Shields collapsing and hulls scoured by beams and lines of pulses. Warp drives exploding and torpedo bays detonating in close-range, pounding engagement. There was nothing being held back here, and the ruthlessness of the attack showed that the war had succeessfully stripped away what hesitation remained in Starfleet over fighting their comrades in arms. This force had been drilled and trained to kill their own brothers and sisters, and they were doing it with mathematical efficiency.

Now that they had a local edge over Sisko’s fleet they were pursuing it ruthlessly. Two disciplined groups of more than a hundred starships operating in tight order, divided into large flotillas of about twenty ships each, using surprise and the unexpected advantage in numbers. They were concentrating their fire by flotilla, too, covering each other while twenty ships would concentrate on a single one of Sisko’s and blow her to shreds, then moving on to the next, and using warp drive in short bursts of incredibly fine precision to reposition the flotillas for the next choice target of their massed fire, which made counterattacking the individual flotillas almost impossible.

Sisko knew that—another reference from Alliance and Taloran naval theory—N-squared law. Your advantage increased by the square as free ships could gang up on the outnumbered enemy, destroying them faster, reducing the amount of damage they could inflict before they were lost… Which meant the attacker with the numerical advantage would confidently watch that advantage multiply while the defending fleet was destroyed faster and faster in each iteration.

And Slyperia was doing it to his flanks despite being outnumbered almost two to one. He looked back to the tactical plot. To where in the centre Slyperia was holding her line with less than 150 ships, standing at very long range on the defensive and for the moment just lightly skirmishing with his own much larger main force, though they did include some of her biggest and most powerful. There were no Taloran built ships in the number, though Colonial intelligence was not sure when the ‘speculation cruisers’ as the Talorans euphemistically called them would actually enter service due to the custom built warp pods Starfleet had requested with them. With her refusal to immediately commit them, Sisko wasn’t sure if Slyperia was covering up for their lack or if she still had a reserve despite the heavy initial commitment.

One thing was clear. He could see that his own flanks were going to be destroyed by the local numerical disparity if he didn't reinforce them, even if he was presently in a position to handily defeat Slyperia’s centre if he really wanted to. He could not risk the loss of four hundred Colonial starships, and even if that meant that the work in the centre was going to be harder, he had to reinforce the flanks. "Detach Sevak and Loriel's task forces," he ordered. "Order them to counterattack to the left and right flanks."

He watched the order carried out. The cruisers and battleships built in the rest of the Multiverse were a precious commodity and their worth was proven as they entered the fray. Predictor computers specialized against these kinds of highly coordinated tactics that the Federation First Fleet were using, and with the Colonials using them and themselves showing the proper coordination, forced Slyperia's fleet to call off the detached flotillas piercing deep into his formations with the pinpoint warp tactics and go to standard ship-to-ship combat, falling back into a wall of battle. They still had a brief advantage from the enormous casualties they had already inflicted on Sisko’s fleet that mercifully declined as Sevak and Loriel brought their taskforces to bear, stabilizing the battle on the flanks finally.

The impact of the engagement remained. Countless small icons had disappeared from the tactical display and fleet lists. They represented hundreds of people dying in the darkness, their ships knocked out and crippled, power lost, or worse, spiking into core breaches. And at this magnification he couldn't even see how Dax and the Defiant were faring. On his flanks, the weight of numbers had tipped the scales back in favour of his fleet, but the enormous number of casualties—there were at least a hundred wrecked Colonial ships—had given a fighting edge to the Federation that they retained as they fell back onto the defensive.

And, as he had first expected but been so cruelly deceived, a sea of red contacts began to appear before him as almost another hundred starships came in—the remnants of Janeway’s and Mainz’s fleets—reinforcing Slyperia's main force that was holding the range before him and coming in against the two hundred ships he still had drawn up in the centre. The difference was that now Slyperia had forced him down to numerical equality with her own much attenuated centre, and Sisko didn’t like that.

But he also had very little choice if he wanted to win the battle, and his ships definitely were greatly superiour in firepower. “Bring the centre forward to close the range and get in close.” Sisko steepled his hands grimly as he glanced to Commander Smythe. “Sometimes, Commander, you can only kick over the hornet’s nest and hope you brought enough gasoline.”

USS Admiral Senyavin

The ship shook under Slyperia as the first hits came, and were followed by an endless fusillade of heavy fire that would not, she knew, slack again as long as she remained in contact with the enemy. Phaser blasts and particle beams lashed out into her formation, which responded in kind. Photon torpedoes, quantum torpedoes, and the particular white glow of missile and torpedo technology from the rest of the Multiverse lit up the open viewscreen in the company of the deadly energy blasts.

For the moment there was little more for Slyperia to do. Her flank attack had done exactly what she had planned; she had weakened Sisko's center when she had needed to. Now she went head-on-head with this adversary, clever but to her just an amateur, the product of what was almost a cult of the "hero captain" that Starfleet was ingrained with. It had its strengths in many realms, but this was her realm, the realm of the great fleet battle, and even without a proper staff or flag bridge she was still quite adequate of it, commanding with just her sturdy chair and a good tactical holo-plot, as had been done in the days of Jeryllyn Lictor’s very first battles. She had told stories of how primitive things had been then, and now Slyperia understood it: But the lesson had been clear, too. It was the crews and people and Admirals who made a battle, and Sisko was good… But Slyperia had made her crews better, and that had carried them much further than one man’s genius ever could. Or even her own.

Now, as her centre force started to lose ships under the weight of Sisko’s firepower, it was clear that the final element in the battle needed to be executed if she was to win. Sisko had already obliged by her by pressing forward and attacking, after all, and now it was just her turn to bring the final component into place. They were being pounded and pounded good by the Alliance built particle cannon and gauss rifles on those ships, but for the moment they were holding their own.

"Begin to pull our forces back. Slowly. Let’s give him good reason to keep pursuing." She saw her ships taking more damage than pleased her. But it would work out in the end if Sisko acted as she suspected he would, and she watched as the gap between his main body and the verge of the Mutara nebula began to widen, and with it, the gap between his main body … and his reserves.

FRLS Normandy

Captain Kruger drummed her fingers on the bridge and watched as the tactical plot was overloaded by the scale of the battle and trying to represent so many ships. Though battles back home regularly involved many more craft… Almost all of them were fighters. Only this many ships had been in one place for one or two battles in recent history.

It was certainly impressive. The Normandy and her two escorts had been retrofitted with Cochrane drive almost a decade ago as part of the Alliance technological assistance package to the Terran Confederation and associated human powers back home; they were used to the ground rules of the battle. Coming under warp strafing, though, had very nearly cost her the ship. She’d issued the orders swiftly and quickly to bring them into an evasive pattern, and the little escort carrier, though not very fast, could at least accelerate sharpish enough to spin clear, the attacking flotilla shifting fire to her escorting destroyers, but not early enough to destroy either of them.

It had been close. They were still bringing their phase shields back up after the pounding they had taken, and Joanna had been forced to more or less give up on trying to direct the actions of her fighter wing. She was just going to have to trust Dworkoski, and most of all try not to micromanage.

They only had a single rotary heavy capital ship neutron cannon, and some flank mass drivers that were barely better than those on fighters, and so far the Federation ships had stood up pretty well to them. Frustrating, but on the other hand—well, the few torpedo attacks by their squadrons they had witnessed had seemed to go well.

Joanna watched as another static filled report filtered in and clenched a fist, this time. They were losing too many good pilots. The Colonials didn’t have enough fighters, and though their’s were the biggest, best, and toughest of the lot, larger than runabouts… Spread squadrons too thin across a battlefield, and problems started.

Problems which were whittling their numbers down steadily. She frowned, and stabbed a button that switched the tactical to a larger projection, the little Border Worlds/Free Republic contingent back at the rear of the right flank. At least… They seemed to still outnumber the enemy, and the reserve that the Colonial captains knew about had not yet been committed. Then we can still win this thing. But Joanna sent out another order reminding Dworkoski to keep the wing close.

The fighters didn’t have Cochrane drive.

UCS Defiant

The emergency lighting kept the Defiant's smoke-filled bridge barely visible for Dax and the others as they went around from station to station, making the repairs and isolating systems that working on the bridge could allow, while Jadzia focused on encouarging everyone to keep up the effort as they battled to keep the Defiant alive. The young and nervous Bolian ensign at sensors was very dead, and there was very much no point in calling for medical assistance.

Tenmei's helm controls were mostly down, and the little gut-puncher was only maneouvring under emergency thrusters and emergency regime computer controls at the moment, which at least had been enough to avoid colliding with a few wrecks. They had been battling for survival for what seemed like an eternity already, and with very little progress, though Dax knew it had been less than an hour.

Jadzia wiped her forehead clean of sweat—the environmental systems were malfunctioning, and the fact that was leading to the ship getting hotter rather than colder was not a good sign—and settled back into her command chair, trying to be a proper Captain. “Latest status report?”

"No impulse power, thrusters are however back under regular control, Captain," Tenmei reported. "Warp drive remains offline."

"Phasers offline. I have shields at ten percent and torpedoes." Worf added, back to his old trademark scowl with the way events had gone.

"We just lost the main energizer again!", a Caitian lieutenant called from the engineering station.

Dax hit her badge. "Bridge to Engineering. Nog! What’s going on!? I thought you were stabilizing main power, but we just saw the main energizer go down again!"

There was silence broken up by some background shouts. "I'm trying Commander," Nog replied. "But we have a coolant leak that I haven’t been able to contain yet and we almost lost primary core containment! I had to shut down the main energizer again due to field destabilization from coolant contamination!"

"Nog, we're sitting ducks out here!"

"Hurrying, sir.” His voice couldn’t hide a hint of exasperation. “Engineering out."

Dax breathed in a sigh. A part of her wanted Miles here to handle the situation down in engineering, but that was rather unfair to Nog who had been trained personally by the Chief and knew everything he was doing as well as any Engineer in Starfleet could have. And no matter what she wanted to do, all she could do was sit, wait, and hope nobody came by to pick them off.

UCS Indefatigable

The old dreadnought rocked again from a spread of quantum torpedoes that crashed into her shields, breaching the outer layer with their tremendous power, but two layers still remained intact and there was no major damage. Sisko’s mind was far from the ship, which was McGray’s responsibility, and focused entirely on the tactical challenge of the broader battle.

Indefatigable herself, then, was in the unenviable position of being at the very heart of a very concentrated torpedo fire. Akira-class ships, heavily loaded with quantum torpedoes, were using their massed torpedo batteries in the way the energy they carried could never hope to damage dreadnoughts. The commitment of more old dreadnought-sized starships was making things dicier than the prior battles, but the bulk of Slyperia's fleet was still normal Federation, and they were glass cannons compared to Alliance ships, even though her flagship in particular was new-built over an old frame and thus immensely strong compared to the others.

They had recognized it from the communications, at least, and he was throwing everything available at the Admiral Senyavin, but with ablative armour and a unabody modern armour alloy construction over the old frame, her shield breaches were quickly compensated for without further damage and she threw back as good as she got with those two big turrets which each held the firepower of Sisko’s old Defiant and countless phaser arrays and rapid fire quantum torpedo launchers.

Generally, now that the battle was joined, the very large and heavy Federation ships at the centre were absorbing the fire of the Dreadnoughts, their energy channeled into keeping their shields as high as possible. They appeared to have the main job of soaking the attention and firepower of the Colonial Dreadnoughts whilst the Akira-class vessels, organised into entire twenty ship flotillas, raced between them and took advantage of the attention being meted out on the larger ships to use their massed quantum torpedoes to good effect. Like torpedo boats covered by a sacrificial armoured cruiser charge, they could and did inflict very serious damage on several of Sisko’s dreadnoughts when used in this manner, which was not at all comforting.

Even if his weakened center was still sufficient to batter her force down, the battle out in front of him was taking much too long and the casualties were rapidly piling up. “Mister Smythe, order all capital ships to focus their fire on the Akiras. With the enemy capital ships focused on defending themselves, they’re the much bigger threat until they’ve exhausted their quantum torpedoes.”

“Understood, Sir,” she answered shortly. The new directive brought quick results, as the Akira-class ships, though rated heavy cruisers by the Federation, were barely the size of many Alliance light cruisers or destroyer leaders, and under massed capital ship fire began to take punishing losses, shields collapsing and hulls snapped, sheared, shattered by high energy impacts and detonations. Several blew up outright between warp core failures and detations of their torpedo bays.

The shift in fire let the enemy capital ships regroup and begin to recharge their shields, but in comparison to quickly ending torpedo threat, it was well worth it. A short prolonging of the engagement in the centre, though with commissurate losses on the flanks, would be buying them the survival of the precious Dreadnoughts Sisko knew his country could not replace. Finally, he had a hand on the flow and tempo of the battle. They were pushing the First Fleet back, and Slyperia appeared to have thrown her bolt, deranging a fleet almost her twice her strength, to Sisko’s conniption, but not able to destroy it in the slightest.

And yet... he knew she was still up to something; or else much more overrated than Alliance intelligence had thought in the report they’d received. She had to be cognizant of the fact that Sisko now had the decisive advantage, that he was now pushing her entire fleet back onto the defensive, and… She surely couldn't have deployed all her reserves to hit his flanks, could she have? That was elementary tactics that you never commit your entire reserve at the beginning of the battle. She wouldn't have gone all-in that early, not by the reports he'd read. Surely she was not that desperate. What was she planning?

He couldn't give her the chance to execute any plan, surely couldn’t give her the luxury of time, so in the absence of any information—damnit, but losing all of my scouts in the opening phase hurts—the only safe course was to end the battle quickly. He was very likely to be unpleasantly surprised, but he recalled his own words to Commander Smythe earlier and smiled very grimly. Sometimes, you just had to deal with the pain. He didn’t want that woman out there anymore thinking of ways to turn this around. "I want a limited pursuit. It’s time for us to bring this to an end, and the sooner the better. Signal to Picard. Bring the reserve out of the nebula."

“Full strength, Admiral?”

“Full strength, Mister Smythe. And have the fleet start to close the range. Those Defenders won’t like it much at all.” Come on, show me your hand! Where is your damned reserve, Slyperia?

USS Enterprise

Picard was watching the viewscreen silently. He couldn't help but think of the weighty events that had already occurred here, when Starfleet's greatest hero had faced one of Earth's most diabolical minds in a battle that may have decided the fate of the Federation and had most certainly settled their own, very personal fates. A fate that for Kirk had continued to influence history straight through to the famed events around the Khitomer Accords. And now it was again seeing battle; not just a personal conflict, not just two starships hunting each other in the gaseous murk with no shields and spotty sensors.... but two fleets trying to destroy each other, the Nebula as the anchor upon which they fought.

"We're getting a fleet command signal through the nebula interference." The report was from Lt. Commander Miranda Kadohata at Operations. "Admiral Sisko is ordering us in, ‘at the double’, Sir."

"Send to all ships, Commander; make full speed, all ships bring shields to full as they emerge from the gas fields," Picard replied. It was the time for fighting. He just hoped they had all chosen well.

USS Admiral Seyavin

"We're getting some sensor readings from the nebula fringe, impulse drives detected," Lieutenant Amara remarked, more sharply than usual for the calm that had prevailed on the Admiral Senyavin throughout the battle. "Plotting on your display now." The tactical holoplot came alive with the data from the Nebula’s edge.

Slyperia watched the data resolve, and looked back to Soleta. “Do you agree, my friend, that is a fleet emerging?”

Soleta had already been following the data reports scrolling across the readout on her command chair and nodded without hesitation. “I’m staking my life on it, Admiral,” she answered shortly.

Slyperia barely lifted her head. "Send to Rear Admiral Lamkaih the final set of coordinates. Jump on my signal."

“Instructions reported confirmed by Admiral Lamkaih,” one of her comms lieutenants reported back as the subspace delay filtered through a few seconds.

“Signal the jump, Mister Hansen.”

“Signal sent, Admiral.”

Slyperia leaned back in her chair, ears high and sharp, and tossed her gloved fist across the air in front of her face in a possessively arrogant gesture. “Less than twenty minutes and this battle is over,” she remarked to the silent tactical holoplot before her. “One sharp blow…”

USS Enterprise

The Enterprise was clearing the nebula first, Captain Yi's Khitomer at one side and three Steamrunner-class ships on the other, five leading ships with one hundred and ninety-five following behind, proud and strong in the memory of what Starfleet had always been. "Locking weapons on nearest targets," Vale reported from tactical. “We’re at extreme range, Captain. The fleet battle has moved significantly from the nebula.”

"Close the range immediately and open fire when we’ve cleared our own forces," Picard ordered as he took stock of the situation before him which had been previously masked. The battle looked to have been very hard fought, and the number of warships drifting disabled or shattered to pieces around them made even Wolf 359 look like a skirmish. It was truly dreadful, but it was their’s to win and this was not the time for contemplation.

"Sir!" Kadohata's hands picked up speed on her board as she clearly began to filter new readings, the sensors still settling down from the interference in the nebula. "Thermal spike!"

"A thermal spike? From...?" Picard frowned, trying to place the danger.

Kadohata worked as fast as she could, but it wasn’t fast enough. "…Kearny-Fuchida jump drive signature, Captain! Jump-in detected!"

"All ships, evasive maneuvers! Evasive maneuvers now!" Picard flinched in sympathy with his Enterprise as he knew what was about to happen. “Shields! We need them up!

In the space between Picard's force and Sisko's fleet, empty space suddenly lit up with the arrival of multiple new ships, almost thirty of them in total. They looked more like sea-going naval ships of the 20th Century, if someone had taken two such vessels and glued their keels together… And four of them were the size of the Colonial dreadnoughts. Picard recognized those forms immediately, so alien to the Alpha Quadrant but so familiar in his memory, bristling with turrets and gun barrels twice as long as runabouts.

They were Taloran warships.

A barrage of intense energy fire erupted form the Taloran-built warships, their shields up and broadcasting Starfleet Ident codes, coupled with huge anti-ship missile barrages and, worst of all, the devastating short-range torpedoes with their gigatonne yield warheads, useless at most ranges, but here, between two fleets at point-blank, barely able to miss and quite able to do crippling damage to a cruiser with a single hit. The Enterprise just barely managed to stabilize her shields from the interference of the nebula before the first massive salvo crashed home.

The Enterprise absorbed the hits on her shields, which somehow held from the salvo and were raised in the nick of time, while Vale directed return fire that stabbed one of the Taloran–built heavy cruisers accompanying the battleships with phaser blast after phaser blast. Her Ident showed her to be named the USS Yamato and Picard felt a stab of anger at that old name of a proud Galaxy being reused on one of the foreign warship purchases of the AFU. But it was no matter, now. Shields were down to 40%, but coming back up fast as the generators and capacitors raced the capacitors of the Taloran-built ships which were charging back up for another enormous salvo. Their guns rarely fired very fast; the next salvo from the battleships was twelve seconds later, and again the Enterprise was able to withstand it. After that, the turrets which could bear toward the rear of Sisko’s Dreadnoughts did so, they being obviously the more important target for this particular service squadron of Slyperia’s.

Enterprise shook off the blows and struck back, her hull still untouched. Countless other ships behind them weren't so lucky. The enemy ships had directed their fire on the ships further back in particular and, with the Mutara Nebula's gas fields still interfering in shields, they never had a chance… Exactly as Slyperia had intended it from the very first.

Beams of blue fire speared saucer hulls and drives and turned Federation ships into fireballs in short order. Staggered half-salvoes were sufficient, even with the cannon shots timed to explode into area-effect bursts, to severely damage unshielded starships. Fully contained shots striking dead on blew several frigates apart instantly. Countless more were crippled. Evasive maneuvers spared many more ships this fate, but the 28-ship flotilla of Taloran-built ships had completely altered the battlefield of almost two thousand ships as their broadsides were poured both into Picard's force and into Sisko's fleet from behind.

The particular service squadron kept firing, ruthlessly but practically forcing every single ship in Picard’s taskforce to run the gauntlet of their fire while still unshielded. The rows of exploding gigatonne range torpedoes turned space around the Nebula solid white with raw energy and blue beams cut across it with compensators in the main viewscreen serving only to prevent permanent retina damage to the crews of the ships which survived. Losses were in the dozens, and the advance of the reserves under this fire was nothing less than a massacre.

Finally, finally, the last of the ships which survived succeeded in bringing their shields up. Picard could not wait, nor euologize the yet more friends that he had lost. The center of the Colonial fleet was now caught between two fires, and his battered reserve tore into the squadron of Taloran-built ships at point-blank range in an effort to repay the favour.

USS Admiral Senyavin

The plots told Slyperia everything; her the attack had performed as she had expected it to, the single sharp blow she needed to reverse the course of the battle. Once again she had put Sisko on the defensive despite being outnumbered. Once again, the battle was now very much in doubt. Once Sisko had begun to pursue her, the ability of her plan to work had been guaranteed. Once a gap large enough for a safe spherical-error-probable for Dristania drive had opened between the nebula and Sisko’s fleet to eliminate the risk of random interposition by the jumping ships, it had become possible to surround him… And put her heaviest and most powerful shields directly in the path, point-blank, of two hundred unshielded starships.

All that it had required was bleeding, and brutally accepting the losses in the way few other Admirals could, such that Sisko had been in a position where even stopping the bloodshed had both required an advance, and been the absolute guarantee of an advance. Slyperia had quietly arranged the battlefield so that it was the only sane option for her enemy… And then taken advantage of it anyway. The way to win against an intelligent man is to make your victory contingent on him making intelligent decisions, she thought, remembering the very distinct advice of Jeryllyn’s.

And with it, her own simple elaboration and distinction between concentrating on the enemy centre, fighting the decisive battle, and what had actually happened: Slyperia had, from start to finish, been fighting a battle for the centre. She had been fighting a battle to occupy the centre of the battlefield, not to defeat the centre of the enemy fleet. There, too, was another important lesson—terrain mattered even in space.

Her objective had never, not once, not since the moment she had heard about Sisko’s position, been Sisko’s fleet. From start to finish, it was the objective that she was about to seize: The Mutara Nebula.

Sisko's center was, before her, now starting to lose formation as ships moved to engage the new enemy behind them, weakening his front against her, even as the formation had naturally splintered under fire from two directions. But this was only one phase in her plan. If she didn't act quickly, her fleet's contingent of Taloran ships would be lost between two fires in turn as Picard’s remaining ships bore down on them with massive weight in numbers, and even now, Sisko would in fact hold the advantage that would allow him to win the battle.

But in breaking his formation by the fire from two directions, even if he hadn’t added to it by splitting off divisions to reinforce Picard, Slyperia had won and she knew she had won. “One sharp thrust,” she murmured softly again, and forced a sort of rictus imitation of a grin to her face that was the most triumphant show of human facial expression she could offer to her crew in the circumstance.

"Centre division, reinforcement division, command group; send to all! Break through the enemy formation. Power to shields and engines, engage only defensively. Enter the Mutara Nebula as quickly as possible! All Captains to enter the nebula as rapidly as possible on independent initiative if cut off!”

UCS Indefatigable

Commander Smythe thought she had a good feel for people, and that included her new commander. Seeing the look on Sisko's face gave her the impression that he was about to hit something, but only a thin sliver of discipline was keeping him back and keeping him under control, trying to think his way out of the mess. And it was one hell of a mess.

On the plot the Federation First Fleet’s central divisions surged through his disorganised and scattered forces. They weren't even firing much now; their power was focused on shields and engines, and even as his forces picked off a few damaged or badly positioned ships with concentrated fire, explosions again lighting the night of the stars, the bulk of the fleet blasted through him and Picard and began entering the Nebula. As they did so, their shields went out... but Picard and Sisko were losing target locks at the same time as they disappeared as fast as they could into the nebula. A few times they were lucky and the ships entering were unlucky, and were torn apart by the frustrated, massed fire of a dozen heavy ships.

It still wasn’t happening nearly enough as the continuous fire from the Colonial fleet tore through the night; it was much easier to quickly lose yourself in the nebula than to quickly extricate yourself from it, and they could not repeat the performance of the Taloran-built ships (whose shields were much less affected when they joined the exodus) against Picard in turn. And then, they could do nothing at all, for they couldn't see to hit the enemy fleet anymore, and the battle faded away in the centre even as it raged unabated on the flanks.

The shooting stopped. Sisko looked around at his staff briefly before watching the plot again. There were no more signs of the enemy centre divisions... but they were in there. Oh yes, they were definitely in the Nebula. And he wouldn't know they were coming out until they had already done at. They could go out the other end, they could hit one of his flanks, they could hide in there for days and wait for another fleet to join the battle and tilt the balance against him. Slyperia could recommit almost half of her fleet against either of the flank battles at the time and place of her choosing, and he could do nothing about it except guess. And there were a lot of lives out there to gamble on.

"Sir, orders?" Smythe was looking at him expectantly. He could feel the weight on his shoulders, of Colonials still faithfully expecting him to pull a trick out of his hat.

He said nothing.

USS Admiral Senyavin

"No damage to ship systems, Admiral," Soleta said in a modest tone. "We made it through intact, and all minor hull breaches have been tied down and were in non-critical locations. The fleet is using phasers on training mode for communications as was proposed where comms lasers won’t punch through the gasses."

"It is not over yet, though the Senyavin has fought very well." Slyperia answered, quietly but confidently, her ears dipped forward in a modest bit of self-effacement as she relaxed from the heights of adrenaline in battle. It was good to be back in action. To feel the exhiliration of leading a fleet into battle and to know she was skirting the edge of mortality... it was like old times, when her people were fighting and winning on their own wit and the blessings of the Lord of Justice, when she had commanded the fleets of the Starfleet which Jeryllyn Lictor had forged into the unbeatable and supreme combat force of an entire galaxy. She had gotten Sisko's measure and found it acceptable but, ultimately, lacking. She had him right where she wanted him, and now the question was how intelligent he would be in recognizing the circumstance he had found himself caught within.

It had not been without cost, though. Her fleet had taken much serious damage she'd hoped to avoid but had never believed she would manage, even in the centre, and the losses along the flanks must be incredible bad. All things considered she had come out the worse in the fight in terms of material losses, with proportionally much greater losses. If they ended up facing each other's main forces again only retreat could save them. And yet—and yet, all things said, she had taken her objective. She held the Mutara Nebula, and it conferred the same advantage on her that another dozen dreadnoughts would. And if Sisko were wise, he would know it, too.

"In what direction do we attack?", Soleta asked, the bridge crew now looking at her with the respect owed in that she had proved herself in Starfleet, leading them. She was no longer an unknown quantity.

"None, for the moment. I will let Admiral Sisko consider his predicament." Slyperia clasped her hands together and waited patiently.

UCS Indefatigable

Sisko knew he'd lost.

Oh, the battle wasn't over yet technically... but the risks of renewing it were unacceptable. Slyperia had all the initiative, and he could never guess where she'd come out. If he was lucky, yes, he could meet her strength as she emerged and beat the First Fleet down.... but she had far more chances of being the lucky one. She could hit the flank he didn't reinforce and smash a third of his fleet into powder without any loss. She could force him into two seperate engagements by splitting his central force in half to reinforce both flanks that, with her coordination, courted likely defeat. She could wait until one of the other Federation Fleets arrived and smash him between two fires.

And, though he was briefly tempted with it (he certainly thought it would be the course of action she would least expect), he couldn't pursue her into the Nebula; that was sacrificing all of his advantages and inviting an uncontrollable melée battle that would risk the precious heavy ships under his control to unshielded destruction at the hands of her highly disciplined roving packs of Akiras working as torpedo squadrons. He was not about to repeat Khan’s notorious mistake, especially since his brain reminded him that the temptation came from the same desire for revenge that had led Khan into the nebula. The only sane option stared him in the face.

He had to retreat.

Sisko's fingers dug into his chair arms. He'd have to flee, and flee far. Get his ships out of the firing zone to get the badly damaged ones back to dry dock and reform his squadrons and taskforces, and that meant getting enough distance from Slyperia that she couldn't hit him before he'd see her coming. That meant abandoning the Ceti Sector, and with it ending the momentum that had made arrival at Earth by the end of summer seem possible. It also meant taking his fleet out of the strategic picture of the war just as Starfleet was focusing on Pacifica and her allies in the Beta Quadrant colonies.

One battle. One damn battle with the woman and she'd made him look like a cadet, and with it had turned the tide of the war and put half of the Colonies on the defensive… And left them helpless to support the other half.

But he had no choice. The war wasn't lost even now... but it would be if he got his flagship and the other Alliance capital ships in his fleet destroyed. They could not be replaced. Without them, Starfleet still had the best shipyards. They could grind down the colonies until they surrendered. Only these Alliance ships, with their thick armor and their multi-layer shielding, could counter the inevitable numerical advantage of Starfleet.

On the face of it, Ceti Sector was worthless. No major inhabited planets, and those small settlements here were all pro-Federation. There were no populations of Colonial worlds to be subjugated. There were no critical dilithium mines, no ripleyite deposits. Nothing that made this place worth fighting for. Nothing that made it worth the risk.

"Sir?" Smythe was staring at him. "Your orders?"

"We retreat." Sisko drew in a breath. "Set course for Starbase 49."

"But..." Smythe stared at him. "We'll lose the sector! Our whole position in this Block will..."

"Commander, transmit the order now," Sisko insisted, an edge to his voice that told her he already knew that.

Smythe swallowed. "Aye, Admiral. Transmitting orders."

Sisko remained quiet as the order went out. Ships took up their warpflight formations... and there were fewer now, oh yes. Within thirty seconds of the order the central group of the Colonial Battle Fleet went to warp, its first full retreat of the war. Over the next several minutes, the flanks extricated themselves from action and also went to warp, without being pursued or aggressively attacked as they made their escapegood.

Sisko's eyes went to the check-in messages from the other ships. Ships listed by name, in alphabetical order. A, B, C… The losses were bad, already. And from there to the Ds.

And he did not see the name Defiant.

At that moment, if his rage could have manifested as energy and lashed out.... Admiral Slyperia would have turned into a pile of ash in seconds. But it did not do so. There was nothing he could do but sit there and make sure his fleet got to safety.

He'd lost.

He'd lost.

UCS Defiant

There was quiet on the Defiant bridge as the sensors showed multiple warp signatures. "The fleet is warping out," Lieutenant Kraith reported.

Prynn Tenmei's voice sounded hollow as the jamming faded away and the full picture of the battle—and the menacing flanking forces of First Fleet—became apparent. "We... we lost...."

"All eyes front, Ensign," Dax ordered. She swallowed, too, knowing that not only had they lost the battle, but that if Nog didn't come through... they would end up either dead or captured. "Nog, I really need warp..."

"Still working on it, Commander."

There was beeping at the operations console. The dead Bolian had been replaced by Ensign Chen, a Human-Vulcan girl that Dax had only seen a couple of times. "Sir..." She sounded like she was holding back an angry scream. "We have multiple contacts coming out of the nebula."

“Commander, we’re being hailed,” Kraith reported.

“The Federation fleet?” Dax gripped her command chair and forced herself to look up.

“No, Commander. The FRLS Normandy. She’s still here.” Kraith focused the viewscreen in on a distance section of the battlefield where flickers and flashes of light from dozens of starships pressing in against a small group of three ships was visible. They were outnumbered at least twenty to one.

“The Freikorps squadron,” Worf rumbled, and looked on, impressed, and clearing expecting to be in the same position moments later. “True warriors.”

“Put it on,” Dax cut them short.

To all mariners lost at sea—we salute you, kameraden. Die hard! Send your manifests and we’ll report back your dipositions!

Worf answered the request with a proud rumble before Dax could even issue an order, and she just shook her head and let it slide. Her crew needed it, and all she could do was wait. Come on, Nog…

FRLS Normandy

“That’s the Admiral’s old ship. Damn, we really have been hit hard,” Joanna muttered softly. They had remained behind to recover their fighters, and in the process gotten into a battle that might even impress her father. Certainly they were the last ships fighting that had the option of escaping, and accordingly Joanna had done everything they could for those without it, using their transporters to rescue as many personnel from the other ships as they could, such that the Normandy, normally operating with a crew of five hundred, now had something like three thousand people onboard, and the other two ships were similarly packed: They had the singular advantage that transporters actually worked while going through phase shields.

“All Phase shield banks are gone, Captain! We’re down to bare armour!”

Joanna slapped open her main comms line. “Air Group!? We have been here MUCH too long!”

“We have the last fighter inside our Cochrane radius now, Captain!”

The Normandy was abruptly hit by a rippling salvo of explosions that send them all over at a ninety degree angle, held into their chairs on the bridge only by their acceleration straps. It was not the first time for many officers in the Landreich, though it just drove home the direness of the situation.

Joanna stabbed open her second ‘hot-line’, to their own little squadron. “Warp speed, any direction. Get yourselves clear, gentlemen! Godbless!”

Her helmsman didn’t need the order repeated. When he heard it for the squadron, he tapped in his pre-prepared course and hit the command. They blew into warp with no further warning, inertial dampers kicking them back… As several people in the last beam-out cycle were instantly killed by the loss of transporter lock.

But they had simply just had no time left to spare.

Joanna slowly slumped down as she realized that there was no pursuit, and there surely wasn’t going to be one. “Report.”

“Twenty-two fighters came back, Captain,” was the grim answer from Lieutenant Carstens at operations. “And we’ve got a… Really nasty mess from going to warp while transporters were operating.” He looked queasy having just heard about it.

“Yeah, I thought so. Well. We’ll manage. Try to get the squadron back together and then head for the fleet fall-back rendezvous. I need to see to damage control.” Fuck, but this is a miserable way to start a war.

USS Admiral Senyavin

Slyperia felt a certain guarded satisfaction at hearing that Sisko's fleet was gone. It was what she would have done in his place, which spoke well for his command ability. Farzbardor forbid she have to beat an idiot in her first battle in more than a century. No, this had been a real engagement against a serious opponent, but she had still executed it, no differently than a conductor with both a challenging symphony and a challenging audience.

"All ships emerge from the nebula. Commence salvage and rescue operations. I trust the cargo bays are ready for prisoners?"

"Yes, Admiral," Soleta replied solemnly, and a bit subdued. There were many people out there she knew who might shortly be packed into them.

"Good. Use the spare civilian and guest quarters for the ranking officers, and make absolutely sure all the ships do as well. We must show ourselves to be magnaminous in victory, whatever our political leaders choose to do with the rebels in the end. I anticipate Milano will order us back for strategy sessions and reequipping once Admiral Leyton has finished his victory, but for now we will systematically secure the battlefield and capture all vessels which can be seized in the debris field, get them all back to operational status, and only then fall back to Starbase 11 in a measured fashion, understood?”

“Understood, Admiral. I’ll make very clear about the proper treatment of prisoners.”


UCS Defiant

The Taloran-built cruiser that felt like she had stolen Yamato’s Ident was looking progressively larger on the viewscreen. Dax sat quietly and waited, and she didn't have to wait long. "We're getting another hail, and this time it’s from the cruiser," Chen said with anguish.

"Demanding our surrender," Dax answered, not even needing to hear the contents of the message. It was obvious, and anyway, they were not the first ship that the ultimatum had been issued to as First Fleet spread out to hunt through the cripples, to secure surrenders or destroy Colonial ships, and to succor their own. And she was thinking about it. Thinking hard about it Above all else... the Trill had lost enough of their experienced symbiotes already. Getting killed would cost them another. And there would be a life after the war.

She looked to Worf. His face was full of frustration. He was thinking of the stand of the Normandy and of their last words being an encouragement to fight on. He was thinking of the ships which had chosen hopeless last stands already. And he was clearly thinking that it was the only way to salvage his personal honour in this battle, and the best and most right thing that he could do.

If he were captured alive.... then who knew how that would effect things? He would not only be dishonored by it, but it would reflect dishonor on Martok too, just as he was dealing with Gowron's attempts to undermine and eliminate him. She could see it in his eyes; he was ready to just die, firing the torpedoes he could still call upon until they were overwhelmed.

"They're insisting we surrender again." Chen was checking her console. "Weapons are being locked."

Dax opened a communication line to Engineering. "Any moment would be fine, Nog."

"Then stop interrupting me... sir!"

"We're being given one last chance to surrender," Chen said another minute later. "They will open fire in ten seconds!"


All Dax could do was watch as they ran out of time, and the baroque Taloran cruiser let loose with a shining blue salvo of slim particle bolts, tearing through space straight for them. Chen hit the maneouvring thrusters at full power, but it was a standard dispersal pattern, and on thrusters alone there was no way in hell they could evade it.

Worf fired torpedoes back in honourable futility with a defiant howl as he prepared to enter Sto'Vo'Kor, and Jadzia Dax found herself transfixed, watching the ranging shots come closer and closer, and interpose with the Defiant. They were going to die.
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"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by lord Martiya » 2013-01-24 05:42am

A magnificent battle. Truly Slyperia knows her job, much better than anyone else here.

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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by Steve » 2013-01-29 12:43am

UCS Defiant

Inside Main Engineering Nog was busy, ignoring the sweat in his eyes as he put in the new coolant line. Dax's shouts had just the right edge to tell him how little time he had, but this was a delicate job and any misstep could send plasma coolant spewing into Main Engineering. Coolant that, for all its name implied othewise, was hot enough to melt flesh from bone even if it was still for "cooling" the reactor.

"Sir, we're ready to restore main power!"

"One more second..." Nog swallowed and worked his hands around the connection. It was hard work, but he felt the grooves fit into place as he twisted. Soon it was tight... and then there was a click. It was secure! "Now!"

The shots from the Taloran cruiser were large on Defiant's viewscreen, seconds away from impact.

"We have main power!", Kraith shouted.

Dax was yelling, "Go to warp, now!", but she didn't need to. Tenmei's hands were already flying over her station. The Defiant leapt to warp speed, only after which she began turning the ship in warp to head back to base.

The bridge didn't erupt in cheers. There was simply the sharp breaths of those convinced their deaths were imminent just to have a final stay of execution granted.

"Nog, good job!", Dax shouted into the comm system. "How much warp power can you give me?"

"Don't push it past Warp 5," Nog warned. "I can't guarantee we'll maintain safe coolant cycles if we push the warp core any higher, and to repair the power systems I need a full yard."

"Do we have cloaking?"

"Give me half an hour. Nog out."

"Then we might still be pursued," Worf noted with a rumble.

"Send a call to the Fleet then." Every second gave them a massive lead, though, even at Warp 5, and they weren't so far behind the fleet that any pursuers wouldn't get set upon themselves by Sisko's rearguard.

USS Sarek

The refitted Ambassador-class ship had come out of the fight with a damage level that was not too severe. There was quiet on the bridge as the all-Vulcan crew considered the battle that had just been waged. "Captain Solok, an enemy starship has broken from the debris field, Warp 5." The tan-skinned Vulcan looked to Solok. "It's identified as Defiant."

"I see. Very well. Set intercept course and engage." Solok sat in his command chair, quietly contemplating the situation. Sisko was vain, passionate... emotional. It was a weakness in other species that Vulcans like Solok always made excellent work with. If he took Defiant from Sisko, then combined with the defeat he had suffered here the blow might be insurmountable.

It was, really, the only logical thing to do.

UCS Defiant

Chen's sensor boards lit up with the incoming warp contact. "We have a ship pursuing is, USS Sarek."

Dax nodded. "Do we have communications with the fleet?"

"I've been trying, sir, but I'm not sure we're receiving," Chen admitted.

"I hope they are, we're in no shape to fight an Ambassador right now...." Had all of that been for nothing?

USS Sarek

Solok quietly waited for his ship to come to combat range. "Send a surrender request."

"Yes Captain," Lt. Commander T'Myra said at Ops. "They are ignoring."

"The emotional often dislike inconvenient truths," Solok responded quietly.

"We will be in weapons range in 30 seconds..... Captain, we are getting a signal from Fleet Command, they are ordering us to cease pursuit."

Solok gave no outward sign of emotion. "Inform Command that we are 20 seconds away from destroying Ben Sisko's personal starship. Even if it is not his flag, the loss of the Defiant and his comrades in her crew will be a great blow to the rebel admiral."

"I'm senidng the reminder.... and our orders are being repeated. 'Turn about now', directly from Commander Soleta."

For all that he was displeased, Solok relented and gave the order. The Sarek ceased the pursuit.

UCS Defiant

The viewscreen plot showing their pursuit breaking away seemed to deflate the tension on the bridge for good. Dax felt a little tremor inside and knew she would be in for a nasty post-battle crash, but right now she had to stay focused to the task at hand of getting her ship home.

"I wonder why they broke off?", Chen asked, breaking the silence of the bridge. "They had us outgunned..."

"I'd guess their command didn't want them to risk themselves. If our call got out we'd have our other ships coming in by now, and they could have ended up destroyed." Dax stood up to work some of the tension out. "But keep an eye out on sensors just to be safe."

UCS Indefatigable, Starbase 49, Colonial Territory
12 June 2166 AST

Dax found Sisko in the superdreadnought's gymnasium, wearing a full-sleeved boxer's jacket and pants and a pair of worn boxing gloves. He was punching away at the bag like it was responsible for their defeat. "Ben?"

"SHE BEAT ME!", Sisko shouted, his voice brimming with rage. "She made me look like a first year cadet in Tactics!"

"She's my age," Dax pointed to him. "This isn't like..."

"It's worse than Eddington!," Sisko raged. "He only cost me a few replicators! Slyperia can cost us the war! Billions of people struggling for their basic freedoms, just for that stuck up bastard of a woman to beat me and strip them away!" Sisko punched the bag several more times before letting out a gutteral yell of frustration and rage.

And then, he stopped. Dax watched quietly as the thought came to him even as he threw a couple more half-hearted punches. "I thought I'd lost you, Old Man," Sisko confessed.

"Out of all of our close ones, that one was one for the books," Dax admitted. "They were focusing on the Defiant exclusively in the first barrage."

"She wanted to ensure I thinned the center for when she hit it," Sisko remarked. "I've never seen warp strafe tactics employed like that. It was like each ship was controlled by the same pilot."

"Or they've been training for the maneuver long enough to follow each other exactly," Dax pointed out. "The important thing is to get ready for the next round."

"Yes." Sisko grabbed a towel and wiped the sweat from his head. "But for now we prepare to pull back. Slyperia's attack was to hold us; Leyton will be leading the bulk of Starfleet against Pacifica and her allied colonies, and I don't see them holding out against that force."

"And once Leyton eliminates them, he can focus all of Starfleet on us," Dax remarked.

"Yes. And unless we get assistance... it will make this war a close thing. A damned close thing."

USS Admiral Senyavin,
Near the Mutara Nebula
12 June 2166 AST/4 January 2381 ST-3 Calendar

“Admiral Mhanahkiu, Captain Solok of the Sarek, reporting as ordered.” His Vulcan precision was impeccable, though Slyperia could see hints she’d learned from her close association with Commander Soleta of his frustration. Interesting.

“At ease. Please have a seat, Captain Solok. We set out some Vulcan tea for you, one of Commander Soleta’s preferred vintages, I have found it very calming.” Slyperia herself was perfectly at ease, and her emotionless face more than rivalled a Vulcan’s.

“Thank you, Admiral.” He nodded to Soleta. “Live Long and Prosper, Commander Soleta.” The traditional Vulcan greeting was offered as she replied with it herself. She was somewhat imperfect by Vulcan standards, but had proved impeccably capable, and loyal to the greater good of the Federation, and those traits spoke a great deal, perhaps portending a career to rival Spock’s, with a less seditious ending.

“Live Long and Prosper,” Soleta answered back, with the room then briefly a companionable silence as Solok prepared his tea.

This gave the Captain of the Sarek time to compose his thoughts. Solok knew that Talorans expressed emotion through ears. But he could not read her ears effectively, and they were held at an almost prototypically neutral position he had seen from biological readouts of Talorans. Combined with the lack of blinking, she was surely an emotional creature as her rather feudalistic and sometimes violent race was, but exhibited the highest level of non-logical discipline that could be expected of an organic sapient. He was duly impressed by her composure, though it followed naturally with the level of discipline that had been empirically demonstrated in her tactics on the battlefield, allowing her fleet to be ravaged to cautiously draw Sisko out into a disadvantageous position which gave the Federation the engagement despite being badly outnumbered.

“Admral, you are clearly displeased at my effort to destroy the USS Defiant. I had attempted to explain my reasons during the chase to guarantee her destruction. I can repeat them here at your leisure now that the moment is lost.”

“I was made aware of your reasoning, Captain Solok. I disagreed with it. Captain Solok, how many Federation fleets are there right now in the Alpha Quadrant?”

“One, the First Fleet,” Solok answered. And then suddenly felt, his eyes narrowing the slightest bit, like he was being called to account by a Master Logistician back on Vulcan.

“How many Colonial fleets are there in the Alpha Quadrant?”

“Three, Admiral.” Solok struggled with composure, even. Slyperia betrayed no emotion whatsoever, and did not raise her voice in the slightest.

“What was our objective?” Slyperia glanced down to her PADD to check on the latest status report coming in.

“To defend Starbase 11, Admiral.” Solok admitted, and with it, his own defeat.

“I made a strategic decision that a local offensive was the most effective way to defend Starbase 11. Having forced Sisko’s fleet to retreat from a position in which it could threaten Starbase 11, how would a pursuit further the objective?”

Solok recovered. “Admiral. We could have ended the threat to Starbase 11 permanently by eliminating Sisko’s ability to maintain his composure and effectively direct the fleet against us. The needs of the many outweight the needs of the few. The risk to the Sarek would have been acceptable if it had permanently ended the threat to Starbase 11.”

“That is logical,” Slyperia answered, and then cut off a response by Solok. “Captain, I had committed my last reserve. I could not afford to lose even a single other ship against a Colonial counterattack to our pursuit, drawing us into a maneouvre battle when Sisko still outnumbered us, and a resumption of the battle may not have actually gone in our favour, especially without resupply of quantum torpedoes.

Furthermore, there is no guarantee that Sisko’s composure would be lost. It is a transitory cultural phenomenon among humans of North America that rage at a loss or insult is expressed through a loss of composure. Commander Soleta?”

Soleta nodded her head. “Admiral,” she acknowledged. “A human military song of the 19th century,” she explained to Captain Solok, and slid her PADD over.

Solok looked down tightly, and read it.

“I call your attention to the line ‘his cheeks turned pale with rage,’” Soleta explained. “This is a well-documented cultural form of emotional expression, the idea of a deep calm following severe insults and losses. Sisko is a deeply illogical and irrational man. Simply because the standard human response is the heat of rage does not mean it is predictably so. Without fully understanding human culture, human emotion cannot be adequately predicted.

“Further, the same is true for alien species, Captain. Captain Mackenzie Calhoun was an excellent example of this form of expression of a calm-response to insult and loss instead of the stereotypical one of rage for humans.”

“And, of course, a Captain in the First Fleet is not privilege to all the information we know as an admiral and her staff,” Slyperia flicked an ear somewhat frustratedly. “You see, Captain Solok, we have information that President Spock and Admiral Ross are in communication with an Admiral Tolwyn, a half-paid Confederation man with extensive ties to the Free Republic of the Landreich, which with another small state sent three ships to aid the Colonials, including one commanded by the illegitimate daughter of the President of the Republic. Who I should say explicitly, is a close friend of Admiral Tolwyn. This Admiral Tolwyn was one of their professional veterans of the Kilrathi war and may well be willing to fight for the Colonials on the request of President Hans Maximillian Kruger of the Free Republic of the Landsreich.

“There is another group, as well, recently defeated enemies of the Alliance from the CON-5 universe, who have been in secret negotiations with the Colonials. It is believed they are seeking the right to establish a colony in Colonial space to maintain their obscurantist religious traditions in exchange for providing extension military advisors and command and staff officers to the Colonials. I cannot elaborate further on either point, or how this information came to be.

“To be very clear, If you were not a Vulcan whose loyalty is understood to be impeccable, you could not be authorised by me to view this information; only certain of my captains can I even share this with,” Slyperia finished flatly. “Captain Solok, you are a Captain, a commander of a ship. I have reasoned with you because Vulcans appreciate reason. But please understand the final conclusion of this: You are in the wrong, and the disciplined organisation of this fleet is something that cannot be ever broken by a single ship. You do not have the information to do so, and could put our overall position in danger because of that lack of full information.

“Further independent action without authorisation would be worse than inappropriate. In light of the facts I have presented, it would be illogical.”

Solok took the dressing down very, very stiffly. “I understand, and will obey your directives.” There was no sigh, but Slyperia could almost add one. “With your permission, I will depart to meditate upon the pertinent facts contained within this discussion.”

“Permission granted, Captain Solok. You are dismissed.” Slyperia watched him go. Only after the door closed did she shake her head and chuckle softly. “Soleta, how do the rest of your people convince themselves that people like him are unemotional?”

“Admiral, I honestly do not know.”
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by lord Martiya » 2013-01-29 10:59am

What is the title of the song?

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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by Voyager989 » 2013-01-29 11:11am

If it's the one I think it is, look up Tom Roush's version of The Cumberland('s) Crew.

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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2013-01-29 11:33pm

USS Okinawa,
Pacifican Frontier, Sigma Triskellion System.
13 June 2166 AST/5 January 2381 ST-3 Calendar

The old USS Okinawa that James Leyton had been Captain on and the ship from which he steered a brilliant young engineer named Ben Sisko into Command track had been lost to the Dominion, but Leyton was pleased to see the commission renewed with one of the rebuilt dreadnought starships of the Federation II class, just like the Admiral Senyavin. Sitting in the powerful warship, his fleet plot at his side, Leyton could feel confident about the successes to come.

Those successes, it seemed, would include the battle before him. Having taken the Sixth Fleet into battle with his flagship attached, the Pacificans had closed ranks against him in Sigma Triskellion and fought it out. His Flag Lieutenant, Fiona Laglin, had position on the console next to him on the main bridge while the ship was being fought from the Battle Bridge. She was reading off the reports as the trap was sprung.

They had moved into the relatively inconsequential system because it was along the frontier of a region of subspace which allowed for faster than normal Warp travel—as a dagger straight into the heart of the main region of Pacifican territory. This had naturally brought a strong defensive response from the Pacifican fleet reserves, barreling straight out of their home systems to engage him, heavy on Alliance built warships able to fight and punish his powerful fleet hard.

Fighting for the past two hours, the battle had not slacked in the slightest, and the Pacificans might well have thought they were going to be winning. But what they did not know—the word had not reached them in time for the other side of the Federation—was that the rest of the Federation fleet was facing them, not just Leyton.

“Fourteenth Fleet reporting in. Twenty-first fleet reporting in. Second Fleet, reporting in. Attacks on the Pacifican Third Fleet are commencing throughout the Staten System.” She paused, and looked up significantly as the information continued to update. “Admiral, we’re detecting a transmission to the Pacifican Second and First Fleets,” she referred to the formations of starships before them as the battle raged around them, Okinawa sometimes swaying from impacts of heavy gauss cannon.

Leyton stiffened imperceptibly. “Signals to all ships of Sixth Fleet, prepare for enemy to disengage and stand by for pursuit maneouvre Alpha Romeo Zero Zero.”

“Pursuit maneouvre Alpha Romeo Zero Zero, Aye, Sir!”

Fourteen hundred starships were engaged, fighting with each other, in an utterly devastating battle that sprawled across the system. But there were an equal number of ships fighting over the State System now… And there, the ratio was lopsidedly in favour of the Federation, two and a half to one. Here, the Pacificans had the advantage, and they knew that Staten was much more important than Sigma Triskellion.

Even though it was a straight shot to Pacifica from the system, they still had substantial defences in their home system to repel Leyton’s Sixth Fleet. But Staten was an utterly enormous major manufacturing world, and if it was hit, it would be incredibly difficult for the Pacificans to recover.

Leyton had made his battle plan, and sought out a minimally inhabited system, for just this reason. Once he had brought the Pacificans to battle; now they had to disengage from his fleet, give up their victorious press into the heart of his formation, and turn to relieve Staten. The hope of an offensive was replaced by the rather desperate need against such an arrayed strength of Federation warships to hold off a counterattack into Pacifica’s core regions. With three major fleets attacking Staten, they had to break off, disengage, and go to their aid.

And they began to do so. The crew of the Okinawa watched and fought as the Pacificans took the bait, pulling back amid the continuous twists of phaser and gauss rifle fire, the spinning of photo and quantum torpedoes from target to target. Several reserve flotillas of Akira-class starships were used to press in close with massed quantum torpedo volleys by Leyton’s command, as the rest of his fleet appeared to take advantage of the respite, using them as the rearguard, while the Pacificans broke off.

This vigorous attack cost casualties in his reserve, but was effective in convincing the Pacificans that Sixth Fleet was indeed disengaging. Akira class ships were torn apart by the heavy fire and lost, others disabled with hits to their warp drives which would prevent their joining Alpha Romeo Zero Zero. But the massed quantum torpedoes ripped deep into the hulls of several big battleships and cruisers of Alliance extraction, and forced the Pacificans back faster to regroup for their jump to warp.

Sixth Fleet also began to regroup, adopting a posture as if it were retreating back further into federation space. On the bridge of the Okinawa, everyone was waiting very tensely. “Commander Denison,” Leyton ordered softly, “are all fleet controls linked?”

“All fleet controls linked, Admiral.”

“When you detect the Pacificans going to warp, execute Alfa Romeo Zero Zero without waiting for permission from me.”

“Understood, Admiral.”

“Captain,” Leyton triggered the channel down to the battle bridge where Erika Benteen, once more a Captain, was on duty. Leyton had insisted that she be promoted back to up to Captain and given his flag as her command as a condition of coming back to the colours. She had been busted to Lieutenant from Captain, stripped of her security classification, and put in medical supply as well as receive a two-year mandatory set of counseling therapy and ‘outpatient’ reeducation, for her involvement in the coup. Technically she had betrayed him, but Leyton had decided to bury the hatchet in the same way that Milano had offered for him, stand up for her, and try to demonstrate that if they were letting him back, he would show his own consideration as well.

And so far, she had learned her lessons very well. Okinawa’s performance had been excellent. But now the real test would come.

“Admiral, Sir.” She was somewhat subdued, despite her confidence.

“Captain, all weapons and shields stand ready. We’ll have no warning of the execution of Alfa Romeo Zero Zero.”

“Understood, Admiral.”

He looked up, and then it happened all of a sudden. The Pacifican fleet began to disappear, and Commander Denison acted at once. The command codes were used to remotely issue warp course commands on pre-set courses per the action plan.

Since the Pacificans were trying to get to Staten as quickly as possible, they had naturally chosen the trailing edge of the enhanced subspace zone. It did not extend in the direction of Staten, but by ‘tacking’ through it, they could pick up an initial speed boost and perhaps shave thirty minutes off of their response to the new attack. And they were quite certain that they had bloodied Leyton enough that there would be no pursuit.

They would have been right, if the optimal course had not already been seeded with a cloaked and self-replicating minefield. It could be overcome quickly by the Pacificans, because it was not over a fixed point in space like the one that had famously defended the Bajoran Wormhole. But running into it at warp, the lead elements of their fleet were torn to shreds. The big Alliance-built ships survived it, but knocked out of warp they were ravaged with many of their guns disabled and shields collapsed. Smaller Federation type starships were destroyed outright.

The Pacifican fleet collapsed out of warp with dozens of ships disintegrated and many others crippled as explosion after explosion crossed over their shields and hulls at warp velocity as they flew straight into the minefield, and were trapped in it.

And dropping out of warp on a circuitous course around the system was Leyton’s Sixth Fleet, directly in front of the Pacificans as they piled up a state of chaos. Captain Benteen gave them everything she had with the forward batteries and pulse phaser turrets of the Okinawa and the whole fleet followed suit. Damaged Pacifican ships exploded, warp cores breached, torpedo pods shattered. Impulse drives were burned out, warp drives glassed, and beautiful white hulls scoured and then annihilated by the raw firepower involved.

The trap had worked, and Leyton didn’t stop in punishing the Pacificans. The Akira’s closed and unleashed another round of massed quantum torpedo salvoes. This time they punched through the armour of several big Alliance built ships and blew them straight to hell.

Nothing could stop the reversal of fortune now. The fleets were evenly matched, and the Pacificans had to maneouvre around the minefield to try and close the range with Leyton. Nor could they possibly succor Staten. They had little choice but to do as Leyton wanted, and fall back on Pacifica herself to guarantee, at least, that the defeat would not turn into a rout that would destroy the entire colony and all hopes of her independence and the future of the free Colonies.

Leyton watched impassively. Fighting for the AFU was a surprisingly passionless experience, and the victory particularly unsatisfying. “I’ll give the forward picket squadrons ten minutes to batter down the enemy cripples so that they’re not a threat to our own starships that have lost warp. Then we’ll have to let our cripples take care of themselves. We need to minimize the losses to the fleets at Staten. Set course for the Staten System, maximum fleet warp. Let’s finish this business.”


USS Okinawa, Staten System
Pacifican Territory, Federation Control Zone
14 June 2166 AST/6 January 2381 ST-3 Calendar

He had been confident in the two battles of the past two days. And he was confident, now, in the future of their war effort. Confident about the battle parts anyway. The politics… Well, he was a marked man there.

The debris of Starfleet and Beta-side Colonial ships were mingling in space around them, testament to his effectiveness in tricking the Betas into battle and crushing them with strength at Staten while luring them to destruction at Sigma Triskellion. While they had managed to preserve some of their Alliance-built ships with well timed retreats in both battles, being forced to stop fighting Sixth Fleet and turn to assist their other forces over the strategically-placed Staten System—with the subsequent minefield trap--had been the key to crushing them. It would be a couple of years before the Beta colonies would recvoer their strength from the hundreds of starships losses that had been inflicted in the two actions. Years they would never have the chance to get. Certainly Leyton wouldn’t allow it if it could be helped.

And with the news coming from Ceti, finally arriving by subspace across the whole ravaged Ferderation... a double success was now finished. Siisko's fleet had been humiliated and checked; meanwhile the Beta colonies removed from the interstellar element of the war, ending the war on two fronts that had debilitated Starfleet and allowing Slyperia and Leyton to combine against Sisko. Without outside support for the Colonies, victory for the Federation seemed a great deal more likely now.

So it was probably a goood thing that Leyton never intended to let that get to his head. He couldn't afford to. And at the same time, he felt... wrong, somehow, at being Milano’s Mameluke and watching what was happening to the planet below him. "So... Staten. A nice planet, I'm told," he said aloud.

"So I've heard, sir," Lieutenant Laglin said from her nearby post, looking quizzical. Unlike Benteen, after all, she had been chosen for political reliability.

"Good people, too."

"Maybe, though they rebelled from the Federation whole-heartedly, so how good could they really be?"

"Even good people can make mistakes." Leyton looked at the planet spinning below his ship. "The ground troops will secure the planet. And then the AFU experts will come. Starfleet Security will start rounding up people who signed secession petitions, or who enlisted in the planetary militia, or just people who say the wrong things. And they'll all be placed in...what are they calling it again, Lieutenant? Working rehabilitation camps?" Leyton shook his head. "I never thought I'd see the day that forced labor camps appeared in the Federation."

"I never thought I'd see the day that Federation worlds betrayed us," the Lieutenant remarked insistently. “Sir, you’ve done good for the Federation now, but none of this is different than what you wanted before, so how can you oppose it? You were right, the Federation needed to be strong, and you now, Sir, you’ve shown your loyalty to the AFU. Surely this is just a necessary part of this?”

Leyton said nothing. Normally the Lieutenant’s words would border on insubordination, but Leyton knew his place, all right. He had tried to bring about a military government himself once, but.... was it for this? Was it for the Federation to become no better than the Tsen'kethi or the Breen or the Cardassians at their worst? He had never intended for his military government to be that bad. Surely he would have avoided this bloodshed and done better than Milano.

Was this end, then, what he was really fighting for? No, of course not. I’m fighting to stay out of the tick, he told himself dryly. It was not a comforting answer.
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In 1966 the Soviets find something on the dark side of the Moon. In 2104 they come back. -- Red Banner / White Star, a nBSG continuation story. Updated to Chapter 4.0 -- 14 January 2013.

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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by Steve » 2013-02-01 05:06pm

Chapter 2 - Setting the Pace

U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-E, Departing Starbase 49
20 June 2166 AST

Captain Picard was standing silently at his ready room window, watching the streaks of warped space speed by. He was in deep thought, pondering the loss of life and if the madness would end.

Oh, they could lose. The strategic situation was darkening considerably and it was a strong possibility. The Colonies could be isolated and overrun one by one.... but it wouldn't bring an end to the bloodshed. Partisans could struggle on for years, decades, after all hope of military victory was extinguished, so long as they were treated unjustly and unfairly (as the AFU government would most likely perform). The Bajorans had proven that. And where there were such partisans, there would be those who sought to use them for their own gains. How many of the Federation's enemies would arm such people, callously encouraging them to throw their lives away to weaken the Federation for their own aims? Even the well-meaning could cause such; the enforcement of the Prime Directive in such cases was often justified for precisely that reason. States like the Maquis Confederacy would also continue to rankle and could provoke continued war.

If they turned things around... then maybe there would be an end to the war. But most likely only the peace of the exhausted, with neither side victorious and their anger toward each other stoked all the more. Given those years, the links of the Federation would be permanently sundered and you would instead have two or more squabbling governments, each ready to fight the other for territory or perceived threat.

As for foreign intervention.... that would never work out. A power like the Alliance could step in and ensure the utter defeat of one side or the other, but that would not reforge the Federation. The vanquished would feel cheated and angry, the winners would be seen as living only on the sufference of the Alliance, one change of policy or distraction away from being alone and seen as easy prey.

Picard had long believed that the Colonials winning was the best possible outcome of this conflict... but only because he could see no way to bring the Federation back together, and if peace could not be kept, at least there should be freedom and self-determination. But even now, he wondered if there couldn't be some other way...

The door chime sounded. "Enter," Picard called out. He turned to see Data step in. "The final repair reports? I trust Mister La Forge is taking a well-deserved rest now?"

"Doctor Crusher threatened him with sedatives if he did not," Data replied candidly. "Sir, I have been endeavoring to establish a subspace channel to Space Station Bravo as per your orders. Admiral Shelby will be available on subspace in one hour."

"Thank you, Mister Data," Picard answered.

"If I may, sir... what are you looking to do?"

"To repair the bonds of the Federation as best as I can, Mister Data." Picard drew in a sigh. "Because, I fear, the only other future any of us have left is bloodshed."

UCS Indefatigable, Departing Starbase 49

Admiral Ross and President Spock were on holocomm with Sisko. "Our messages from President Tyler confirm the worst," Ross was explaining. "The Beta fleets suffered massive losses. They will not have offensive capability for the rest of the war."

"Which means Leyton can send the bulk of his forces to join Slyperia," Sisko noted quietly. "We no longer have the ability to sustain the offensive."

"Agreed." Spock's expression was subdued as always. "We have established a series of defensive installations just beyond the Gamma Selkis region and those sector blocks around it. Any territory beyond that the fleet cannot hope to hold with the current disposition of forces."

"And the rest of the government is supporting?" There was an edge to Sisko's voice, understandable since it had been diehards who had pushed him to maintaining the offensive past reason, leaving his fleets stretched out, unable to support each other, and with such slender logistics lines that the most they could do was retreat back to sources of supply instead of moving to link up with him.

"I have managed to explain the military realities of the situation," Spock answered. "There is some... consternation that you were unable to defeat a force that was numerically inferior, but I believe the facts of the reorganization of Starfleet by Admiral Leyton and Admiral Mhanahkiu have shown for themselves."

"I wish to make the time to train our fleets for similar coordination. Otherwise in every fight we're going to risk defeat regardless of odds simply because they can pull off more disciplined maneuvers."

"Arrangements are being made, Ben", Ross answered. "For the time being, get the fleet back to safety so we can get it repaired and up and running."

"We're on our way now. Sisko out."

The two figures disappeared and left Sisko and his staff to themselves. Commander Smythe stepped up to him with more reports. "Sir... if I may?"

"Yes, Commander?"

The Anglian woman tried to smile pleasantly. "Word has spread about your son's engagement. I wanted to offer my congratulations."

Sisko looked at her impassively for a moment. Then the hint of a smile appeared on his face. "Thank you, Commander."

"Is this it for us, sir?", Smythe asked. "Can we beat an enemy that well coordinated, and with the initative lost?" Left unspoken was the question, Is my world going to have everything it believes in stripped apart?

There was a look of intense thought on Sisko's face. "It will be difficult, Commander," he admitted. "But it can still be done, and I am going to see to it."

The White House, Washington D.C.
Earth, Alliance of Democratic Nations
Universe Designate HE-1
23 June 2166 AST

Dale rose from his seat in his side office and extended a hand toward Chancellor Sir Kevin Maxwell-Fyfe, who accepted it. "Mister Chancellor."

"Mister President." Maxwell-Fyfe took a seat. "I thought you might wish to know that we have passed the revised naval estimates. The Stellar Navy will be getting more Vesuvius ships among other things."

Dale gave a nod. "I'm sure that is appreciated. I had hoped the Accords with the Talorans would reduce the perceived need to spend money on expanding the fleet well past the original peacetime requirements... but then again, this peacetime is quite different from the one we had expected. Of course, there is the alternative state which I hope we never see again."

"A hope the Multiverse seems determined to dash, unfortunately." Maxwell-Fyfe offered a digital reader. "For your benefit, Mister President. Councilwoman Barzani's revised resolution restricting aid to the rebelling Colonies. We hope this one will not engender fears of prosecuting the Red Cross and intend to bring it to the floor tomorrow."

Dale took it and gave it an impassive look. "Civilian goods unrestricted, yes... simply materials with a first or second degree of use in combat machinery. A term to prevent foodstuffs from being banned I take it?"

"Yes, along with other sundry items," Maxwell-Fyfe explained. "Our people will still be able to maintain civilian trade and charity without worrying about the Justice Ministry."

"Hopefully this will bring the representatives from the Alliance Unionists and our ST-3 Federalists around," Dale remarked. "Did you see the poll on IUNS?"

"You mean with fifty-seven percent in favor of granting Lend-Lease to the Colonies?" Maxwell-Fyfe chuckled darkly. "Yes... it is worrying. A good thing the election is already past."

"I'm more worried about the twenty-five percent who stated their further support for military intervention. It was only fifteen percent two months ago. And who knows how high it will be now that the Federation's on the offensive." Dale tapped his desk. "How many of our retired admirals have gone to the Colonials?"

"Only Admiral Stein from my knowledge, though I imagine that a navy man like you knows more," Maxwell-Fyfe answered. "And that one isn't surprising given his ties to Bloody Elijah."

"Yes, well, fortunately Stein is a logistics manager and couldn't command a squadron." Dale drew in a breath. "I was worried O'Bannon or Lewis would go. A combat admiral who could go off and get killed fighting Slyperia, giving the interventionists a Gordon to rally around."

"An appropriate reference, sir. But I don't think...."

There was a beep at Dale's intercom. He reached over and pressed it. "Yes?"

"Sir, Minister Wells is here to see you," Mrs. Higgins answered. "He says it's urgent."

"Send him in." Dale and Maxwell-Fyfe looked up to see the brown-haired man enter, his face a mask of urgent concern. "Peter, what can I do for you?"

"Sir, my office received this just this morning," Wells said, his own reader in his hand. "It's from Count Taafe."

At the mention of Emperor Leopold IX's ambassador to the Alliance, Dale could only feel dread as he accepted the reader and looked over the contents. "Oh God, why now?", he muttered.

The Capitol, Washington D.C.
24 June 2166 AST

"....governments of Her Royal Highness the Regent Katherine Steiner-Davion, His Imperial Majesty Alejandro Ramirez, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito, His Excellency the Captain-General Riviera, and His Majesty Emperor Valdus tr'Rllallieu have joined His Imperial and Royal Majesty's Government in encouraging the Alliance of Democratic Nations to respect the decisions of the lawful authority of the United Federation of Planets in regards to the closure of ports in rebel hands. Failure to do this can be construed by these states, and the rest of the Multiverse, as implicit Alliance support for the rebellion and refusal to respect the sovereignty of other states....

An angry shout echoed in the Council gallery, briefly cutting off Alexandria Verdes as she finished reading the demarche. The note had leaked into the press the prior night and left the overnight and morning news cycles of the Alliance in a large ferment. Some pointed out the logic of the Habsburg position, but there were plenty more who saw it as the Empire coming forth and gathering states known for their anti-Alliance positions to challenge the Alliance; the demarche had to these people become a bullying demand, an attempt to interfere in a political debate.

Maxwell-Fyfe hammered his gavel to bring back order in the Council. When it was restored, Alexandria resumed her statements. "If we vote for this resolution, no matter how well watered down it is, no matter how reasonable it sounds... we are declaring to the Multiverse that we are intimidated by the autocrats of Vienna and those states like them. We are saying that we will hold our own policies hostage to the whims of foreign courts who, if I may be frank, are in opposition to everything this Alliance was built to represent. On Gilead we countered the authoritarian states by giving aid and comfort to the victims of the Habsburgs and their allies; are we going to back down now and just let them do what they want?! If you vote for this Resolution, you are voting for the Alliance to turn against the people who are its natural allies and voting for cowering before a power that will become an implacable foe when it senses weakness. And I did not fight a war against the theocrats of the Dominion and New Plymouth to see the Alliance reduced to impotence by the authoritarians of Vienna!"

There were loud roars of support and disagreement, both from the Council and, in terms of the support, from the gallery. Maxwell-Fyfe was compelled to put down with more calls to order. "We will proceed to a vote, then?" When there were no calls to table the Barzani Resolution, the vote proceeded.

65-42 against.

There were cheers from the gallery as the final result was confirmed. The modified De Silva Resolution, which Councilwoman Barzani had spent months carefully altering to strictly conform it to forbidding only those things of use only to the Colonial war machine, had been defeated by an even greater margin than the original. Five more Federalists had crossed the aisle in defiance of the party whip. As political defeats went, this one stung.

Once the formal process of confirming the resolutions was complete it was time for new business. Maxwell-Fyfe noticed that the first person up was Lewis Stanton, one of the two remaining Freedom Party representatives following that party's disintegration from the conflict between Weisbaum and Ducelli and the resulting defection of the moderates to the Alliance Unionists. Hiding his reservations, Maxwell-Fyfe granted Stanton the floor.

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the Council, I now introduce to you a resolution that we must pass, and which I cannot stress enough importance to." He touched a button and transmitted the text.

It made Maxwell-Fyfe's blood go cold.

WHEREAS the United Federation of Planets has fallen into the control of a fascist political faction, making it a future threat to the security of the Allied Nations and friendly states

WHEREAS the Federated Colonies include worlds with long ties of brotherhood to the Allied Nations within Universe ST-3

and WHEREAS the Federated Colonies are fighting for the rights and freedoms every citizen of the Allied Nations holds to be sacred,

the Council of the Alliance of Democratic Nations hereby recognizes the independence of all worlds who have declared such from the United Federation of Planets and recognizes the Government of the Free and Allied Colonies as the legitimate and voluntary union of these worlds for mutual defense, and as such the Federated Colonies are eligible for economic and military assistance from the Allied Nations and a cessation of the Administration's bans on their ability to import military equipment or to gather funding from sources within the Allied Nations.

As the text came up there were hushed whispers in the gallery. Even many of the people who had cheered Alexandria Verdes were left in stunned silence.

Stanton smiled from where he was standing. "I request this go to an immediate vote."

Maxwell-Fyfe only hesitated for a moment; whatever his horror at the implications of the resolution passing, his parliamentary duties were too strong to ignore. "Then we have a second?"

The other remaining member of the Freedom Party, Isabella de Soto of the Betelguese League in Universe GS-42, stood up and seconded Stanton's proposal.

A host of people from all the various parties stood, and when Maxwell-Fyfe recognized de Silva the Chilèan Councilman called out, "This resolution would spell disaster for the interests of the Alliance and our relations with the other great powers. We must reject it in its entirety and I call for such."

"At least the Federalist Party is being consistant with its appeasement policies, Mister de Silva," Stanton retorted. "Last year you protected a war criminal, now you're protecting an entire government of them!"

Maxwell-Fyfe slammed his gavel repeatedly to restore order. Once the shouting had died down and Stanton had seated himself, he called for a second on de Silva's rejection call and got it, surprisingly, from Alexandria Verdes herself. Stanton glowered at her and other faces in the room as it came up for rejection. Maxwell-Fyfe couldn't help but sigh with relief when the rejection won handily, 80-27. Stanton's attempt to ride the tide created by the Habsburg demarche had failed.

Still.... 27 Council Representatives, including prominent Democrats and Federalists (all of the ST-3 Federalists to boot), had voted to recognize the Colonies as an independent state. Maxwell-Fyfe wondered if that number would rise or fall as the Federation Civil War progressed.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "Hold At All Costs" - The Federation Civil War (TG

Post by Steve » 2013-02-06 10:42pm

Starbase 39, Colonial Territory
3 July 2166 AST

Sisko was waiting in the conference room when Admiral Ross entered, a trio of men filtering in behind him. All three were wearing the modified Starfleet uniforms of the Colonial service but their severe demeanor and the fact they were also wearing simple black hats spoke to their foreign origin. "Admiral Ross." Sisko stood at attention.

"Ben." Ross nodded at him. "I believed it best if I personally introduced these gentlemen. Admiral Simon Hansford is my new Chief of Staff and will be responsible for altering the command and communication protocols for our entire fleet. Commodore Garrison Mithil will be assigned to wargame and training for our light ships. And finally... Admiral Adam Proctor, your new Chief of Staff."

Sisko was quiet for a moment. "Admiral Hansford," he finally said. "I believe you were Chief of Staff to Admiral Henry Martyn before he became Presiding Bishop?"

"Yes," Hansford answered, his tone very reserved. "He and I are close friends."

"And Admiral Proctor... you were in command of Plymouthite naval forces in the Amerindian Confederacy," Sisko continued, looking to his new Chief of Staff.

"Yes," Proctor confessed.

"I made your performance at the Third Battle of Okechobee mandatory learning for all of our command officers," Sisko continued. Proctor had forced an Alliance force three times his fleet's size to withdraw and halt their invasion of Plymouth's occupation zone in late 2161. "I've heard a good argument that if Leewood hadn't pulled half of your battle line for the invasion of New Levant you would have taken New Dakota and knocked the Confederacy out of the war."

"Being a Christian I do not take pride in my wartime achievements, Admiral Sisko," Proctor replied. "I did my duty, nothing more."

And for a cruel fascist who destroyed your Navy and caused your nation to get dismembered, Sisko added mentally. That's not something to be very proud of. "And Commodore Mithil, I am afraid I don't have the pleasure?"

"I was left to oversee our anti-piracy defenses along the Outback during the war," Mithil replied. He seemed slightly more warm than the other two. "I've spent my naval career commanding destroyers and frigates and coordinating their formations."

"All of their skills will be important to overcome the changes to Starfleet that Admiral Mhanahkiu has brought about."

"It's going to take a major victory to bring the initiative back to our side," Sisko remarked. "And we already know Leyton is meeting up with Slyperia. Their combined force makes a defensive posture dicey."

"I know. Our fleets took damage in their skirmishing in May from being so spread out and it's going to take time to repair. We might end behind what we had even before Rub'torak."

"A fighting withdrawal will be prudent," Hansford remarked, looking over a map display brought up by Ross. "But more important is preserving your core fleet. Even with Admiral Leyton's upgrades, your Starfleet lacks individual fleet units with the robust defenses and survivability of Multiverse-quality dreadnoughts, or even the lighter battle line ships that the Alliance sold to your worlds. If you lose that fleet you lose the war, regardless of what you achieve in the process."

"The fleet will be preserved as best as it can, but we also lose if the Federation driives us out of the most industrialized systems. We're already running out of quantum torpedoes for our ships, and if we lose those dilithium reserves..."

"Actually, I have good news on that front," Ross replied. "We have a fresh load of quantums for your fleet locker. Safety checks have already been completed..."

Sisko showed surprise. "Just how did we manage to set up a quantum torpedo production facility?"

"We didn't. But we have found a willing source for them and I can't say more than that, Ben. Gentlemen, if you'll excuse us..." Ross led Hansford and Mithil out.

Proctor looked to Sisko. "Sir, I'll be on Indefatigable later today. I'll arrange my quartering with the ship's captain."

"I'll see you at the fleet briefing tomorrow then," Sisko replied.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

Admin of SFD, Moderator of SDN, Former Spacebattles Super-Mod, Veteran Chatnik

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