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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 54
05-22-2011, 02:58 PM
"Sir, what are your orders?" The bajoran woman's voice asked, in a very concerned tone.

Lt. Tarrak walked out of the turbolift and observed the bridge crew, all looking to him. It was not an unfamiliar scenario that Starfleet officers faced in 2409... they had an attrition rate that was staggering. For years, Starfleet Command had worked with the United Federation of Planets to get more manpower to maintain their massive fleets. Various neutral factions had been granted by Starfleet Command to have their people enlist... even if they were not member worlds. Grand Nagus Rom had served as an engineer on Deep Space Nine during the Dominion War years past... he put forth measures to alter Ferengi society to allow their people another path, than that of just profiteering... the ability to serve as he and his son had without prejudice. The nomadic Pakleds, though appearing to be simple-minded... were enlisting in Starfleet Academy and becoming commissioned officers, showing their own unique skills from years of spacefaring. There were others, still... planets outside Federation borders whose people were petitioning the UFP to draw attention to their planet, and allowing their own people to enlist in Starfleet to prove their societies were fit to join in with the Federation.

But when Starfleet continued to take heavy losses against Chancellor J'mpok's brutal armadas... the Dominion War looked like slap fight by comparison. War makes strange bedfellows, and rules are sometimes bent -- even broken... to maintain security and hold territory.

Starfleet had ships mothballed for some time... all listed to be scrapped and decommissioned. But the 'shipbreakers' were being diverted to other tasks... and the decommissioning of various ships grinded to a halt. After all, space was a very... very big place. And it was cheaper and more efficient to simply refurbish and refit these ships than spend the labor hours breaking them down and shipping the scrap to Utopia Planitia or any of the other overworked fleetyards which were responsible for keeping up with Starfleet's attrition rate...

It was hard to say just how many Miranda-class ships were waiting to be broken down to their raw resources before the orders were halted... they were relics, but more than a few still saw service during the Dominion War. The U.S.S. Tesla was one such vessel... and acted as a survey ship for marking new moons and asteroids for future mining operations when it received the distress call.

The Borg had returned. And in massive numbers. Worlds were threatened in the Gamma Orionis sector, and Vega Colony was being invaded... the Tesla responded, as did many ships that day.

Ensign Tarrak was assigned as a gunnery officer to the Tesla, and was also sometimes called on away missions as a security officer to assist Captain Phenx and the other bridge officers when an additional escort was needed. He had spent that morning sending his reports to his department head, but when the ship entered Vega's space... he was assisting his fellow crew members in loading and launching torpedo after torpedo.

A heavily damaged Borg Cube exited transwarp and locked onto the Miranda-class vessel with a tractor beam. Ensign Tarrak's deck found borg drones beaming in and assimilating the crew. Torpedo control went off-line as Tarrak picked up a phaser rifle and started shooting the boarders. A massive plasma projectile hit the Tesla, sending plasma through almost every deck. Tarrak evacuated five others into Jefferies Tube Six and were making their way to the bridge.

When they arrived at Deck One... they weren't prepared for the horrific scene. The entire bridge had to be decompressed and vented into space... a stabilized forcefield was over the hull breach, but everyone was gone. Captain Phenx, his first officer... the entire bridge crew. Gone.

The other five people were non-commissioned officers. 2 engineers, 2 tactical liasons, and the stellar cartography chief, the bajoran woman. Tarrak moved to the Captain's chair and sat down. The other officers took what positions were available...

The new tactical crewman reported that almost everyone had been killed on the Tesla... out of 200 crew members, only 10 remained, including the five on the bridge. The others had either died in the plasma fires, were assimilated, or died elsewhere in battle. "Engage ramming speed." The vulcan responded coldly. They all knew what they were up against. It was either die here quietly, or die putting up a fight. And they'd rather die in a collision course with the Borg Cube than be assimilated. Noone wanted that to happen.

The Miranda-class lurched forward, and started limping towards the massive hulk... when salvation arrived. The U.S.S. Arbiter, an Emissary-class battleship exited warp near them... it fired off a volley of quantum torpedos that finished off the Borg cube, and beamed the survivors of the Tesla aboard.

When the Arbiter returned to Earth Spacedock, Ensign Tarrak was cleaned up and made to look presentable for his meeting with Fleet Admiral Quinn. The discussion was short... the Tesla was being salvaged. It did not meet its end that day. Ensign Tarrak was being given a field promotion to Lieutenant.

"If this is humor, Admiral. The concept is foreign to me." The vulcan shifted his eyes toward the trill elder with a slightly arched eyebrow.

The Admiral went on to explain that experience mattered more than rank... and that Tarrak was the only surviving officer of the Tesla, making him the ranking officer. There were new cadets fresh out of the Academy arriving on Earth Spacedock in the coming weeks... he was given a PADD containing the duty rosters.

Tarrak was still somewhat skeptical of the situation, but saw the carnage at Vega Colony... their attrition rate would only get worse from here on out.

Weeks passed, and the Tesla was fit for duty. Lt. Tarrak had a ship full of cadets... and only a limited amount of experienced crew. They were all scared, nervous... not only about their missions to come... but the relative inexperience of their new vulcan commanding officer.

"Ensign, how many times have you flown a ship?" He looked at the young bolian helmsman from his chair.

"None, sir..." He replied embarassingly. "Then take us out." Tarrak only nodded.

"Isn't this a little improper? We just left graduation four days ago... and we're thrown on this ship... and you're not even a Captain, you're a Lieutenant. Do you really think we're qualified to run this thing?" The bolian looked up at Tarrak with fear on his face.

Tarrak's eyebrow only raised.

"We're at war, Ensign. The Klingons are threatening our territories and way of existance. One ship has been proven on multiple occasions to maintain the capability of turning the tide of battle. As for my experience, I served Vulcan High Command as one of their top tactical specialists before I transferred to Starfleet. However, I am fully aware of my duties as commanding officer, and if you do not trust my ability to command -- I can send you back to San Francisco, if you prefer. But I am the commanding officer, and if you plan on staying on my ship, you will observe starfleet regulations and ask for permission to speak freely, and I will not tolerate cowardice. Is that understood?" He said cooly and calmly to the blue man.

"Yes, sir." He straightened up and nodded to the vulcan before turning back to the helm.

"Take us out, Mister...?"

"Threnn. Ensign Threnn." He said, introducing himself.

"Take us out, Mister Threnn. Set a course for the Neutral Zone. Maximum warp." He turned towards the tactical officer, an andorian man... "I want this ship fully armed and capable of engaging the Klingons within six hours." The andorian nodded once, "Understood, sir."

The other bridge officers looked away from the commanding officer and turned to their stations... Tarrak had made it clear that they would perform to the best of their ability, and showed he was coldly efficient in the way he would command his ship.

Eventually, he thought to himself... he'd carve his crew into the finest crew in Starfleet. And the cadets of yesterday would become the veterans of tomorrow.