Roosevelt Station



Post 1 - Briefing the Commander

Posted on Tue Jul 14th, 2020 @ 8:36am by Captain Suzanne Garcia & Commander Eden Starling-Enigma
Edited on on Sat Jul 18th, 2020 @ 8:09am

Mission: In the Shadow of Thanget
Location: USS Dreadnought, Turbolift 1
Timeline: January 12, 2399
Tags: eden enigma, sue garcia, uss dreadnought

Eden Seraphina Enigma closed her eyes, drew a breath, and straightened her uniform. I was chosen for this assignment. I was chosen because of expertise only I have, a connection to this place and its people that is unique to me. I have nothing to be nervous about.

But she was nervous. Her last task before assuming her command was to speak with Captain Sue Garcia, and Captain Garcia… intimidated her. She could admit that to herself, even if she’d never spoken it aloud. Someone who had carried the survivors through the loss of a starship, served aboard one of Starfleet’s most distinguished vessels, won the heart of that ship’s legendary captain who was now the Chief of Fourth Fleet Intelligence… there weren’t many people who’d had early careers as eventful as Eden’s and managed to survive to command rank, and Sue Garcia might actually have her beaten.

The lift door opened onto Dreadnought’s cavernous bridge, and Eden stepped carefully along the back wall, nimbly avoiding an urgently-working engineering crewman, to reach the door to Captain Garcia’s ready room. Then she stood, folded her hands behind her back in a pose copied from her own first captain, and closed her eyes to wait to be admitted.

“Enter!” Captain Garcia’s voice came in reply, and as Eden stepped inside, she found herself in a comfortably furnished room, with a somewhat stocky woman sitting behind a large desk.

The Captain was currently chewing on the straw which had, at some point, lived in the empty glass sitting at one corner of the desk, while one dark-skinned finger on her left hand worked its way up and down the scar which ran from just below her left eye to the curve of her chin - that, and the scar crossing both of her lips vertically an inch or so away, was the mark left by the injuries she had acquired in the destruction of the USS Aldrin, which she had chosen to keep after Starfleet had recovered her and what remained of the ship’s crew.

It was several long moments before Garcia looked up from the screen in front of her, and she looked, for at least a full second, almost shocked that Eden was there. “Hello, Commander,” she finally said, around the straw, before she seemed to realize it was in her mouth and discarded it into the glass. “Please, take a seat. There’s a replicator on the wall, if you want something to drink.” The two seats in front of the desk were as large as they were cozy, and Eden got the distinct feeling that more than a few naps had been taken in each of them.

A very different command style from me, or from what I expected. Eden stopped at the replicator. “Raktijino au lait, cow’s milk.” The replicator assembled the drink and its Starfleet mug, and she moved to one of those chairs, sitting in it. It feels like it’s going to eat me. There’s too much chair here.

“Thank you, Captain,” Eden said as she managed to get herself into a more or less vertical seated position. “And thank you and your crew for your hospitality on this trip.”
“Of course, Commander.” Garcia smiled, and this made the lines that come with age more obvious on her face - there was certainly stress behind those lines, along with a sort of confidence that one would likely have to maintain if they were to go through an Ensign tour like Garcia’s and decide to step onto another bridge crew afterward. “I understand that Dreadnought here probably seems like a cruise liner compared to some of your previous postings.” She chuckled, then stood, taking her glass with her and having that replaced with a fresh vanilla shake. She settled back into her seat and smiled at Eden. “I guess it’s about time for the boring part, unless you feel like putting that off with small talk for a while.”

“Anything in Starfleet bigger than a Defiant is like a cruise liner compared with a Lagashi ship,” Eden said. “So I’ve had to get used to luxury again, unfortunate as that may be. Thankfully, if anything at all is as I remember it, Roosevelt is much more Spartan.” She shook her head. “I’ve never had any talent for small talk, Captain. I’m ready for, as you put it, the boring part.”

“You don’t have to be so dour, you know.” That cheerful smile crossed Garcia’s face again. “I’ve never really enjoyed formality, but I understand it comes with the job. I’ll just get down to it, though, for your sake.” She took another look at the screen, skimming the files she had been looking over for the last couple of days while she ate the cherry at the top of her milkshake. “As you probably know,” she began, her demeanor changing from friendly to stern like the flip of a switch, back straightening, hands folding together in front of her, “Your primary concern once you take command of Roosevelt is going to be the Breen. Based on your career, I’m fairly certain I don’t have to explain the gravity of that.

“Thot Prel and Thot Ren have increased the frequency of their raids against the Tzenkethi, and scouting reports have shown that they appear to be coordinating. They have likely formed an alliance, and so the Tzenkethi have been left to contend with the largest raiding group and the largest military force in the Confederacy working together.”

“I don’t know Ren very well,” Eden said. “He mostly managed to stay out of the mess in the Valoris. But Prel I know, and he’s trouble from the word go. His shock troops gave us hell on both Seldon and Sovereign.

“It’s good that you’ve got at least some understanding of the enemy at hand, and I have a suspicion that you’re gonna have plenty of time to get acquainted with Ren.” Garcia paused for a couple moments, as if to invite any additional comments. Then, she continued, “Next, Thot Varprem has been continuing to gather rare ores. Intelligence suggests there’s an unseen force guiding his hand in these matters.

“Finally,” Garcia said, glancing again at her screen, “And likely most relevant to Roosevelt’s immediate concerns, Thot Tren, right across the border from the station, has been consolidating power in the Ninth Administrative District.” A few taps at the screen, and the holo-projector on the tabletop displayed a map in 3D, floating in the air. “That would be,” she said, as it adjusted to first show, then highlight a region of space, “This entire area. And you are,” the map scrolled slightly in one direction, then showed a tiny red blip, “Right there. So this will likely be your most immediate concern. They haven’t been attacking Starfleet directly, but I, for one, wouldn’t be surprised to see that change at some point soon.”

“When I served on Sovereign during the start of my career, Captain Surval had taken a Lagashi exchange officer aboard as his Strategic Operations Officer. It made sense… we were working on this border, and she knew the space better than anyone in Starfleet except maybe Bill Jenner. Xian Lihwa was her name… I learned a lot from her,” Eden said quietly. “But one thing I learned was how much bad blood there was in this part of space, whether that blood is water and iron or liquid ethane. ‘Ceterum censeo Helikem et Breenim delendam esse,’ the Major said to me once, when I asked why we planned every operation like it might be the start of full hostilities. ‘Also, I believe Helike and Breen must be destroyed.’ Helike was the capital of the Ninth at the time… I don’t know if Tren’s moved it back there since he took power; Thanget’s immediate successors seemed to want to shed his memory so they’ve used a dozen other worlds to focus their pocket empires. The Ninth and the Lagashi Republic have been eyeing each other for annihilation for centuries, and Federation rules of engagement only help so much with a hate that old, especially when it’s that well-earned. I’ll have an eye on Tren always, Captain. Two, when I can spare them.”

“I’m glad to hear that, Commander. Starfleet is sparing what eyes they can to keep appraised, but you’re on the front lines out here.” Garcia smiled, then picked up her drink, stirring the ice cream absently with the straw before taking a sip. “Now, since we’re on the subject of the Lagashi, there are some things to update on there, as well. Executor Lu Mingzhu is strongly in favor of the Border Defense Initiative, but has been at odds with some of the regional Starfleet leaders. She wants her colonies covered. I’m not generally a betting woman, but I’d expect to see her very soon after you take your command.”

Eden’s expression soured. “I know the Executor. On a leave about five years ago, I attended a premier party on Lagash Prime for the new season of Mr. Earth and Miss Lagash, and she was there escorting her second husband. She was all smiles for the cameras, all smiles for our producers and the rest of the cast, asked me for my autograph - one of her children absolutely loves Miss Starfleet, apparently - then leaned in. Murmured in my ear. ‘Your commission was a mistake.’ Then back to smiles. Now she’s Executor of the Republic, and apparently keeps my autograph on her mantle and her grudge against me close to her heart.”

Garcia’s eyebrows raised, and when Eden finished, she laughed. “Fair enough. It seems like you have a pretty solid picture of her.” She kept the grin on her face for a few moments, then cleared her throat, and was back to the stern, businesslike demeanor she had been holding up until that point. “The protection the Executor is helping to provide is invaluable. She’s been generous in offering her ships to protect supply convoys, which has been a bit of a necessity - a Ferengi by the name of DaiMon Mal has been hitting convoys all around Lagashi space, and getting away with it. The same cannot be said for the many other pirates he’s given the confidence to try the same. The Nagus has commented on the matter, but it hasn’t had as much of an effect as we’d have hoped for.”

“I don’t know anything at all about Mal, unfortunately,” Eden said. “But there’s always someone. When I was in this region before, it was a man named Took. Absolute bastard… to seal a deal with Thot Varprem, he sent his own people into a trap. Varprem paid him extra for the captives on top of the benamite he was already being sold. Sovereign hazard team dropped in to recover the benamite, but we never did find the crew of the ship Took had handed over.”

Garcia winced. “That is...hard. Losing people always is, but that sounds harder than the usual.” She let that hang in the air for a couple moments, then gave a slight nod. “First Speaker Chang Qi has taken the position of the Lagashi representative to the Federation Council. This has been a...controversial move, to say the least. Not much else to say on that matter, at the moment.”
“That’s a bald power grab, in Lagashi government. It’s not illegal, but… it would cause trouble.” Eden sighed. “I knew the synth ban would go over badly here. The Lagashi use AI in their daily lives, and their implants include it. The ban hits home.”

“The ban’s got its fair share of critics, and while I can appreciate the intent behind the thing, you can count me among them.” The Captain’s mind seemed to wander further in that direction than she had planned for. “Commander Data was a feat of engineering, and even the synths made since then, despite not coming close to rivalling him in many respects, were still incredible works of machinery. Artificial intelligence and android research are both incredibly complex and, frankly, amazing fields…” Garcia stopped, then cleared her throat. “Sorry. Passions. I could probably talk your ear off about that.” She looked embarrassed, and that finger which had been running up and down her scar earlier returned, tracing that deep contour.

“In either case, the last thing we need to discuss is the Tzenkethi. Tzen-Tark, the leader of the Tzenkethi Coalition, seems to be trying to avoid antagonizing the Federation. No moves toward a formal alliance, but his people have been much more heavily under attack from the Breen than they had been before. Tark’s aim appears to be Ren and Prel.”

“I wonder if Tark would actually speak with me,” Eden mused. “The Tzenkethi have problems with Starfleet because they value the work of a soldier and the work of a priest over the work of a scientist, but I’m a better soldier than I am a scientist. However much that’s been a problem for me.”

“That would be an interesting avenue to explore, Commander,” Garcia replied, an eyebrow raised. “Certainly worth trying. Now, our final point of discussion...Despite Tark’s hesitance to make trouble with the Federation, it seems the feudal lords on the border do not agree with that approach. They’ve been hitting cargo convoys along the border indiscriminately, whether they’re from Betazed, Earth, or Lagash. Since only Starfleet and the Lagashi Star Navy can really provide support, there are just not enough ships to go around to stop the attacks. We’re spread relatively thin out here, Commander.”

“Story of life in the Lagash Sector,” Eden said with a sigh. “That’s what emboldened Thanget fifteen years ago, and it’s likely what’s emboldening Mal now. There’s always something more important, a bigger threat or a more immediate danger, and by the time this region reminds Paris otherwise, those stationed here and those living here are up to their elbows in Breen or Tzekethi soldiers.”

“I’ll see if I can put in a good word to get more support out here, but only one member of the Admiralty really takes my advice to heart, in general.”

“I worked with Admiral Pinna,” Eden said. “I never met your wife more than passingly, which makes me feel like I’ve been derelict in my duties… one thing that living with the Lagashi has taught me is to always meet the wives of the officers you want to impress. Pinna spoke very highly of Admiral T’Vrell, though… she seemed relieved when T’Vrell was picked over von Mircea to replace her. To have Admiral Pinna’s respect means a great deal… Rish don’t give respect easily or freely, and I’ve never once seen one misplace that respect.”

“T’Vrell is a truly extraordinary woman,” Garcia said, smiling, as her thumb gently brushed the ring on her left ring finger. “And I thought that before there was any romantic interest between us. I can urge her to arrange a meeting with you, officially or otherwise, if you’d like. I’m fairly certain you’d get along.”

“I’d like that,” Eden said. “Maybe I can treat the two of you to dinner once my gear’s been delivered to my quarters on Roosevelt.”

“She’s spoken highly of your father’s cooking.” Garcia was grinning, leaning forward with an elbow on her desk. “If yours is half as good as his, I imagine it would be nothing short of a fantastic evening.”

“My father would never admit this,” Eden said with a wide smile. “But I’m better.