Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
Hello and welcome to another edition of our writers' challenges!

Today we start the two-week run of the fourteenth Literary Challenge: Facility 4028
After visiting Facility 4028, you are tasked with writing a security report to Starfleet Command/ Klingon Intelligence. Explain the incidents of the past weekend, why you think the fail-proof systems failed, and propose a solution.

This is the writer's thread -- only entries should be made here.
The Discussion Thread can be found HERE.
We also have an Index of previous challenges HERE.

The rules may change from one challenge to another, but I'd like to remind everyone what the base rules are. These may grow as we move on, so also feel free to give feedback!
  • Each Challenge will run for two weeks. For 2 weeks we will sticky the challenge and let you make your entry.
  • There are no right or wrong entry.
  • The background story, questions I ask, and format requested are only to serve as a platform that you can start your writing from. Feel free to change up the back-story or the way you deliver, as long as the entry stays on topic of the original challenge.
  • Write as little or as much as you would like.
  • Please keep discussion about the entries in the appropriate Discussion Thread.
  • In the Discussion Thread, feel free to write what inspired you and what your thoughts on the topic are.
  • A few other important reminders:
    • Please heed the rest of the forum's rules when submitting your entry! All of them apply to these posts.
    • Each poster can have one entry per character. Feel free to edit your post to fix typos or add/ remove content as you see fit during the next two weeks.
    • After two weeks time, the thread will be locked and unstickied, as we move on to the next challenge.
    • We'll have two threads: One to post the entries in and one to discuss the entries. **Cross-linking between these two threads is acceptable for these challenges ONLY!!**
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
03-07-2012, 12:29 PM
Security Report 448721-C
Punch, B. Vice Admiral, CO U.S.S Harmony NCC 93651
To: Nogura, L, Fleet Admiral, Starfleet Intelligence
CC: Quinn, J, Admiral, Starbase 01

After Action Report, Facility 4028, Stardate 89787.87

As per orders, the U.S.S Harmony escorted a Dominion representative to Facility 4028 to exchange the female founder held there in return for Dominion assistance in resolving the situation at Deep Space Nine. While in the facility, Jem'Hadar forces loyal to Kar'Ukan boarded the facility and sabotaged the facility's computer core, disabling all interior and exterior defences and releasing the prisoners held there.
With the assistance of Dominion forces who had also boarded the station without detection, the majority of the inmates were returned to their cells and the female founder was kept safe from harm.
With the assistance of a task force led by Captain Shon, the Harmony and the Dominion vessel were able to escape the area safely.
However, while repairing the facility's computer core, Commander Kover was seriously injured.

While the objective was achived, these events have shown that the security measures in place in Facility 4028, and other such facilities, are insufficent for their purpose. Appended below are the analyses and recommendations of the officers involved in the incident at Facility 4028.

Addendum 1: Asesi, T. Lieutenant commander, security chief U.S.S Harmony.
At first sight, the defences of Facility 4028 are impressive. Photonic security teams, fixed turret emplacements and multiple security fields.
Yet, while the photonic security force is a good counter to the risk posed by telepathic inmates, their reliance on the central computer core is a critical weakness. Likewise, without the I.S.I.S core operational, the turrets failed to activate. The security fields did, however, function adequately.

Another glaring weakness was the inability of the facility's sensors to detect multiple Jem'Hadar boarding parties. Countermeasures for detecting cloaked or shrouded individuals need to be implemented, such as small scale tachyon detection grids at major intersections and doorways.
While the photonic security detail perform their duties adequately, their reliance on the I.S.I.S core has proven to be an exploitable weakness. If these security teams are provided with mobile emitters, they will be able to function when the core is disabled. Likewise, the turrets should be given independant power supplies and targeting computers.

Addendum 2: Hipis, N. Commander, XO U.S.S Harmony
A Jem'Hadar strike team was able to completely disable Facility 4028's defences. If it wasn't for a second group of Jem'Hadar who had boarded the station without detection, as well as the presence of Admiral Punch and Commander Asesi, then the inmates would have gained complete control of the facility with little or no opposition. It has repeatedly been shown that relying solely upon on computer or individual or device never works, so why did Starfleet think it was a good idea to make sure that all security would fail if the computer core was disabled?
Either the photonic security needs to be removed from mainframe control and given independant power supplies, or they need to be replaced by live officers trained to resist mental influences. Or both. In a place this sensitive, there need to be redundancies.

Addendum 3: Kolaht'Takar, Ensgin (provisional), security U.S.S Harmony
The defences at the facility were pathetic. Jem'Hadar teams can easily bypass sensors and infiltrate. The computer core is unguarded and unprotected. There are no emergency failsafes and the prisoners can easily be used as hostages or encouraged to attack any personnel present.
Armed teams should be posted at every intersection in the facility and the core should constantly be under heavy guard. In the event of system failure, the facility's power core should trigger an autodestruct sequence. Better for the soldiers stationed there to die than for a prisoner to be allowed escape.

Addendum 4: Punch, B. Vice Admiral, CO U.S.S Harmony.
I've done all the formal writing, so this time I'm going to be honest. If I meet the idiot who designed what I laughingly call the security on the facility, I am going to kick him in the face. Tie everything into a single computer that isn't even particularly well guarded? And I understand that biological security teams are a liability when you're holding Letheasn, Orion and Undine prisoners. But having a security force that you can just switch off by presing a button is no better!
I agree with my officers - this facility needs redundancies. Back ups. And some way to detect Jem'Hadar other than getting shot by them!
I understand that engineer Kover will be given a medical discharge when he gets the last of the prosthetics fitted. Whoever designed this place has cost me - and the Federation - a damn good officer. Oh, and his stupid design let Taris escape. Well done.
Oh, and I nearly forgot. As terrible as the interior security was, at least it existed at all, which seems to be more than can be said about the exterior defences. A Dominion attack squadron managed to reach the facility apparently undetected and unchecked. Do I really need to remind you why this shouldn't be possible? A facility as sensitive as this needs some kind of force on call! A starship or defensive satellites. Fighter patrols, even. Just something so that we can do something to stop hostile vessels!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
Post Mission Debriefing KDF-MR-4208B Stardate: 89789.17

Location: Regulus Block/Kassae Sector/Ayala System: Federation Prison Facility 4208

MEMORANDUM TO KLINGON INTELLIGENCE

Sir. Short version; The facility is ripe for the taking. Assets held there can be acquired for intelligence purposes with little to no prep time. Points to consider
1-Primary security tied to one core system dubbed ISIS. Disabling said system takes all holographic security offline due to lack of mobile holo emitters. There are ZERO back up systems for this. A simple device will enable immediate and unimpeded infiltration

2- Complete lack of Dominion technology safeguards. During mission, multiple Dominion forces beamed in, remained cloaked in wait. KDF methods for eliminating said forces are effective. Priority for acquiring Dominion cloaks is Critical as facility 2408 security monitoring systems is currently unable to adapt or detect.
2a- External threats in regard to Dominion fleets of ships approaching station are handled as well as internal. NO security is available to halt incoming ships to the station. Suggest Cloaking Devices on ALL ships used to infiltrate station.

3- Conclusion: Lack of Security and suitable back ups in primary security system in conjunction with complete inability to detect dominion technology identifies Facility 4208 as a critical target listing for KDF Intelligence to acquire assets. The Federations lack of Operational Security, as well as the pompous way they flaunt their neutrality will lead to the easy acquisition of the Intelligence assets held here

For the Empire

Lt Gen Tisiphone Pantheons
I.K.S HARKONNEN
House of the Honored Fallen
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4 In the Harsh Spotlight Part 1
03-08-2012, 06:25 PM
Krovennan stood motionless on the stand, he was at Starfleet Academy, in the Academy Courtroom, ordinarily, such a court would only be used to settle disputes inside the Academy, but with the lack of courtrooms available within the Federation, they were forced to make do.

Standing next to Krovennan was the Warden of Facility 4028, his program having been copied and sent to the holo-emitters of the courtroom. He had been asked to be present as Krovennan was to testify on the state of 4028's security pending an investigation into the facility's security measures after the Dominion attack. Though to Krovennan, it almost felt as if he was being set up to take the fall...again.

Standing behind the two was the Vorta who had accompanied Krovennan to 4028, Eraun, who had requested to be present, whether through sheer curiosity, spying for the Dominion, or simply wishing to see the man who killed him before suffer was anyone's guess. Krovennan cared little, he would not give Eraun the satisfaction of seeing him flinch.

Apart from the trio, behind them was the senior staff from Krovennan's ship, who were also being investigated for alleged negligence to detect the Dominion Fleet with their own sensors. Also floating around Eraun's head was a camera drone, according to Eraun, the Founder wished to view the proceedings herself, but due to seciurity reasons, she was confined to her ship. Eraun, being the loyal follower he was, arranged the drone for her.

The Judge, a middle-aged Human, eyed the preliminary reports before placing them to one side and facing the court, Krovennan knew this would not be easy.

"Vice Admiral, according to your reports, Facility 4028 was ill-equipped to deal with the task at hand and as such, your advised course of action is a complete review of the measures there. The Warden's counter-claim is that you and your crew should have been able to detect the ship on your own, and as such, you share any such blame, what do you say to these allegations?"

"I find these allegations ridiculous, the Warden is attempting to cover his own failures by throwing the blame onto myself. I would argue that my ship is not a maximum security prison, and as such, we should not be constantly looking for shrouded fleets. Facility 4028 however, being such a prison, and holding a prisoner of unprecedented value to the Dominion, should be on maximum readiness when a crucial space station is overrun by Dominion renegades."

The Warden flinched slightly, he was obviously not happy in hearing his facility be slandered in such a manner, but he soon regained composure as the Judge spoke again.

"Very well Vice Admiral, do you have anyone you would liie to call to the witness stand?"

"Indeed, I'd like to call the officer who accompanied me to the facility, my Chief Medical Officer, Drehera Hipon."

Drehera, who had been seated between Tallasa and Dorryd stood up and approached the witness stand. With the lack of religion, she did not have to swear to tell the truth, instead, she was attached to a lie detector, which Gyzit and an Engineer from Starfleet Academy had both chedk, both conluded the machine was not tampered with.

"Commander Drehera Hipon, you accompanied the Vice Admiral to the facility, correct?"

"Yes, I am a Betazoid, Vice Admiral Darksabre believed my empathic abilities would be useful in discerning any hint of an impending riot or any treahcery from Eraun."

Krovennan could almost feel Eraun wince at the matter-of-fact way Drehera denounced the Vorta's honesty, he could not deny feeling a little twinge of enjoyment from the Vorta's discomfort.

"So the Vice Admiral expected an attack?"

"He expected an attack from within, no-one was expecting Kar'ukan to attack the facility and put a Founder in jeopardy."

The Judge was about to ask more questions when the Warden suddenly interrupted.

"Hang on, the Blacksabre-E is a deep-space warship, correct?"

"Yes, the vessel was constructed as a potenial link between the Federation and the Vilscaran Empire, as such, it is fitted with many experimental systems, some of which Vilscaran in design."

"I see, if I have read the reocrds correctly, the Blacksabre-E is equipped with an experimental Sensor Array system, correct? Could you tell me more about this, what did you call it? Tactics Grid?"

"The technology you are referring to is the Tactical Grid, the Blacksabre can connect to the sensor stations within the current Sector and display them in a holographic grid from anywhere on the ship though the holo-emitters."

"Tell me, how far reaching is this system?"

"The Grid can accurately expand to the entire sector, and can focus on any listed vessel, enemy or friend, in the system, as long as the sensors detect them."

"Then I have to ask, why did this grid not detect the Jem'Hadar ships?"

"The Grid was deactivated at the time of our visit to Facility 4028."

"Hmm, Your Honour, that sounds like a grievous oversight, if the Tactical Grid was not activated, then the crew did not do all they could have done to search for Dominion fleets."

"That is true Warden, Vice Admiral, have you anything to say in your defence?"

"The Tactical Grid is voice-activated, only I can activate the Grid, and I was in the facility at that time."

"Why did you simply not activate it before you left?"

"The Grid cannot function without a Vice Admiral or higher on board the Blacksabre, it is important technology and as such cannot be left in the hands of anyone who is not of a high enough rank to activate such a sensitive piece of equipment."

"Very well, Commander Hipon, you may step down. Now Vice Admiral, I believe you have a claim of your own?"

"Indeed I do, I claim that the facility's security measures are grievously flawed, as evidenced by the events surrounding the Founder's release. It is my wish to instigate a full-scale investigation into the security measures of Facility 4028, and for changes to be made as necessary."

"Very well, firstly, explain to me what happened when Kar'ukan first boarded Facility 4028, as details are vague in these reports."

"Aye, as holo-recordings show before the power was cut, the Founder had been escorted from it's cell, and wa-"

"I object your honour! The Founder is a god, she will not be addressed as an 'it' in my presence!"

"Eraun, you have not been called to the stand, you will remain silent in this court, do you understand?"

"But your honour, surely I must be allowed to state my-"

"Eraun, you are a guest in this courtroom because we saw little harm in it, however, if you disrupt my testimony again, I will have Kri'gak personally escort you to the Blacksabre's Brig, and not even the entire Link could save you in there, am I clear?"

Eraun nodded to the Vice Admiral and was immediately silent, this was a different Eraun to the one that had been killed on the Rapier, but as usual, he was nothing with his Jem'Hadar stuck on a ship they could not transport out of. Anderson had made sure of that with a disruption field over the Jem'Hadar ship.

"Now, as I was saying, the Founder was preparing to leave when Kar'ukan entered, this is when the holo-records end as I'm sure you are aware, he proceeded to proclaim his service to the Founder in the capture of DS9, still under the illusion the Dominion War was still underway, the Founder expressed her disappointment in Kar'ukan's failure to arrive on time, claiming that had he arrived when intended, they would have won.

After this, Kar'ukan, in an action I find unusual of a Jem'Hadar I must say, made excuses to the Founder of being diverted, as if he had simply detoured around some kind of accident on the road. The Founder was displeased and made comments about how she would not allow Kar'ukan to fail her again, I can only imagine an end to his military career, and as such, his life.

Kar'ukan flew into a rage, proceeding to order the death of everyone on the facility except the Founder. It was as this point the I.S.I.S core was shut down, rendering all Photonic entities and automated defenses offline instantly."
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5 In the Harsh Spotlight Part 2
03-08-2012, 06:28 PM
The Judge was silent, obviously mulling over the situation in his head, it was agony until he turned to the Warden at last.

"Warden, the Vice Admiral is insinuating that the defenses on your facility are easily circumnavigated, what do you say in your defence?"

"The Vice Admiral is correct that systems did go offline Your Honour, however, the I.S.I.S system is designed to incorporate a secondary core in such events tha-"

"Warden, the secondary core is a moot point. Your Honour, i should bring it to the court's attention that the secondary core was taken offline at the same time as the primary core, the facility was unprepared for an attack on both cores."

"I see Vice Admiral, so you're saying Kar'ukan knew of the locations of these generators and how to disable them to incapactiate the Warden and others?"

"Considering his efficiency in disabling both of them, and the lack of detection he enjoyed, it is impossible to ascertain for certain exactly how long he has been gathering intelligence on Facility 4028, it would honestly not suprise me if he had sent cloaked ships to spy on the facility since whatever point in time he discovered it's location, which could be any time since he first set foot on DS9."

"I see, continue please."

"With base defences all but gone, the prisoners staged a riot, undoubtedly another Jem'Hadar tactic, and began to gather around influential individuals, these individuals rallied groups of prisoners at choke points in the facility, making our egress difficult.

Before Kar'ukan left the scene, which is again uncharacteristic of usual Jem'Hadar, I attempted to charge him with my Manna'gahr, hoping to deliver enough of a blow to disable him, however, Kar'ukan's size is an understatement, he seems to have more strength per muscle mass than usual Jem'Hadar. Loathe as I am to admit it, I was matched for strength, even with my Vilscaran physiology, and was forced to break combat as his troops closed in, giving him time to return to his ship.

The prisoners we fought were all defeated using non-lethal methods, Drehera keeping a pistol to the Founder's head seemed to rein in the Jem'Hadar, even a Founder cannot survive enough shots to it's mass. We were able to avoid any fatalities.

We were eventually stopped by the final prisoner, a Singh Augment I helped capture long ago, you may remember him. Anyway, I was able to negotiate with this prisoner in order for him to return peacefully, in return, I have sent notes on his research to Starfleet for evaluation."

"That seems like a wise decision Vice Admi-"

"Your honour, the prisoner he is referring to is dangerous, the only reason he knew the Vice Admiral was on was because I had to assign him to talk to him, if the mission had been given to a different officer, then it is likely Starfleet would not have to deal with this Augment's notes at all."

"Warden, I would remind you not to interrupt me in my own courtroom, your objection is overruled, I believe Vice Admiral Darksabre worked well under the circumstances, and on a personal note, I doubt most officers could have done better than the Vice Admiral under similar circumstances."

The Warden slunk back slightly, still keeping in range of the holo-emitter, Krovennan continued, well aware of Eraun's pleasure at seeing Federation officers fight one another in such a manner.

"By the time we had reached the core and reestablished power, most of the prisoners still on the facility had been subdued. Unfortunately, with the lack of power and the confusion of the riot, several prisoners managed to escape, one with disturbing transporter signals in their wake.

The Dominion renegades had called for reinforcements and had surrounded my ship and Eraun's, until a taskforce arrived to distract the renegades, this task force was lead by the U.S.S. Belfast, captained by Captain Shon, this ship was destroyed, no survivors. I believe the BElfast and her crew would be with us if the facility had any exterior defences of any kind, which it does not.

In conclusion, i stand by my claim, a full investigation into the woeful security measures at Facility 4028, as well as permission to hunt down the missing prisoners once the DS9 situation is resolved."

The Warden seemed sure in his decision as to who was in the wrong, the Warden was now panicking in a visible, and if he could, he would be sweating.

"I have come to a verdict, in light of the Warden's lack of ability to defend his own facility, I judge in favour of Vice Admiral Darksabre and grant him all claims, this session is adjourned, all parties are dismissed."

As the Judge left the courtroom, Krovennan turned to see the Warden scowling as the holo-emitter was deactivated, Krovennan could almost hear the collective groans of exasperation of every Photonic guard on the facility.

Eraun seemed disappointed, obviously hoping for a more balanced and heated debate, but Krovennan had little time for such things, he directed Eraun to the shuttle bay, where he would be flown to the grounded ship and then be escorted to Deep Space Nine to convince Loriss to release her grip on the station. Krovennan's crew immediately set to work, beaming up in groups and preparing the ship for immediate departure.

Krovennan entered his Quarters in the dead of night, the ship having set off seven hours ago. Krovennan thought back as to how Loriss refused to believe any evidence given to her during the communication with her when they were on Bajor, and Kar'ukan's willingness to kill everyone in his sight to maintain control. Krovennan did not see peace happening, indeed, he had already ordered level 1 diagnostics of all combat systems...
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
03-12-2012, 03:39 AM
To: Starfleet Inteligence, Commanding Officer Tsuki Futagami
From: Commanding Officer Lost Fleet of the Valkyrie, USS Ta-Sardar-Gor, Admiral De'Liah
CC: Jennifer Winicott, SI Consultant; Office of Special Inteligence, Depatment of Corrections.

Briefing of events: The Ta-Sardar-Gor was dispatched to oversee the release and transfer of the Female Founder who orchestrated the Dominion War from this side of the Wormhole over 30 years ago and transfer her into the custody of the Vorta, Eraun.

What should have been a simple transfer quickly became a mad scramble for survival as Kar'ukan appeared with a cadre of warriors to steal the Founder from us in some foolish attempt at currying her favor. Imagine my surprise as another Cadre of Jem'Hadar materialized at Eraun's order to protect the founder. If that was not enough facility's primary computer shut down, and every prisoner between us and the tansporter room was freed!

We escaped wit our lives thanks in part to Earun's guards but not without severe injuries and the sacrifice of three ships from the relief force including the USS Belfast.

How, by Khales, did this happen! Facility 4028 was regarded by it holographic warden as the most secure prison in the entire Federation. How then was it so easily and quickly infiltrated bu Kar'ukan and the other Jem'Hadar! How did a Jem'Hadar task force make it unmolested and undetected from DS9 to the facility THREE SECTORS AWAY!

This is unsatisfactory! We have every listening post from Defera to K7 trained on the station and they don't see a large ship movement of that great an area?

This was not a single-point failure. This was a colossal loss of control that cost the lives of good officers.

Summary of failures:
Loss of information control: The primary failure of this mission was its secrecy. Somehow information leaked about our objective to Kar'ukan. Had there been no leak, we would not have infiltrated.

Loss of tactical control:
Kar'ukan's ships traversed the distance between DS9 and Fac 4028 without being discovered. Further, the facility itself did not realize Earun's ship, who preceded us, was there until after we hailed them.

Complete failure of internal security:
For all of the facilitiy's precautions the Jem'Hadar's shroud was not included or it failed miserably. Not one, but two teams of Jem'Hadar warriors infiltrated the facility without a single alarm sounding until Kar'ukan himself stood within two meeters of me!

Lack of redundancies:
I will admit the benefits of a all holographic security staff. Immune to persuation or infiltration. However they were of no use once ISIS went offline. Whats worse, the guard's arms were then available to any freed prisoner to use against us. I took a phaser beam to the left thigh and my First officer was nearly killed.

Final comments:
If this is how we handle security it is a wonder we are still in the fight. Te KDF's intelligence service is not to be underestimated and the Orions are well known for their skills at infiltration and intelligence gathering. If that facility were a Klingon station the people in charge would have been executed.

I plan on visiting Facility 4028 again soon to reinspect it and ensure the leaks are patched. It is my recommendation that additional security be put in place temporarily to include more flesh and blood assets to oversee the holographic staff.

I also recommend we shore up the border with the Klingon Empire. I know my people, they will see this incident as an example of weakness. I guarantee that they will strike and soon.

Signed
Fleet Admiral De'Liah,
Commanding Officer USS Ta-Sardar-Gor, Lost Fleet of the Valkyrie.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
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# 7
03-18-2012, 06:19 AM
Log, supplemental: Sutherland, Johnathan (Vice Admiral)
Subject: Facility 4208 Improvement

To whom it may concern:

Having been present at the recent riot at Facility 4208, I have been asked to provide an opinion on what might help avoid further incidents in the future.

I can point to only one improvement that would help - independent portable holoemitters, of the sort deployed on starships. Only a handful of them are provided to each ship, tending to provide a maximum of six crewmen per starship. However, a supply of them that allow for 20% of guards to be wearing one at all times would help immensely. This may seem to make it easy for the holographic guards to be tampered with, but this concern is invalid. Subtle modifications to secured LCARS versions and tetryon pulse modulation would prevent easy tampering or the insertion of malevolent programming in ways used by farmers on planets for centuries - simply put, putting genetic variation in the herd to prevent one virus from infecting them all. My chief of operations, Commander Sadov, has already begun work on a prototype that I have personally contributed code to, and I can verify that the results are quite promising. We can have prototype units available to Starfleet Intelligence within a week. We estimate that when the diversified holoemitters are deployed no more than 90% of the guards will be disabled at any one time, even with a concentrated attack. This number should be sufficient to restart the system and repair disabled holoemitters, allowing backups to take over and provide rapid reinforcement against sabatours.

I estimate the required holoemitters to number no less than 5,000. While this may be expensive, may I remind you that many of these individuals are extremely dangerous, which I know first-hand as I apprehended several of them at great risk to myself and my crew - twice, in fact, now. Furthermore, holograms have been ruled sentient lifeforms by the Federation Supreme Court, and denying them a failsafe of this kind renders them virtually helpless in a life-threatening situation. Additionally, this particular failure endangered the life of a diplomatic envoy, which could have caused an actual war against the Dominion, wherein they would already have possession of the most important strategic point in the entire quadrant against any invasion plans.

I am having a conference with Fleet Admiral Quinn directly regarding this situation. These prisoners are too dangerous and the stakes far too high to risk such an incident again. As I now have clearance and rank in this situation I have requested and received budgetary reports. Even without dipping into the 'black box' budget reports that remain unavailable to me you can easily afford upgrades of these kind. Available weapons and deflector shields for this facility could drive off a mixed fleet of at least two dozen Odyssey, Sovereign and Prometheus-class ships, and against a force three times that quantity have at the very least time for assistance en masse to be routed from Starbase 227 and Deep Space 3. Heavier fortifications are not the answer here. Although transporter defenses need to be bolstered, that is for a separate document, briefing and R&D effort.

This facility is too important to the Federation to risk it falling. Make it safer with something other than longer phaser arrays and stronger shields. My executive officer, Commander Corspa, and my chief medical officer, Commander Aunroz, will be filing their own reports with similar findings within the next six hours.

Sincerely,
Vice Admiral Johnathan Sutherland
Starfleet Corps of Engineers


Sutherland sat at the desk in his ready room, looking over the PADD. Corspa sat on the other side of the room, feet up on the table, and Aunroz sat near her, the Trill medic looking a bit more reserved and dignified than her Andorian superior officer, both with PADDs in their hands as they read their commander's letter.

Corspa looked up. "If anything, Suth, it's a bit too POLITE." She pushed herself into a more regular sitting posture, grasping the PADD with both hands and peering at it intently.

"I'd agree, Johnathan." Aunroz nodded slightly. The three had attended Starfleet Academy together, been classmates, and it was perhaps a stroke of luck that they ended up serving together so shortly after the massacre of captains at Vega Colony - Corspa, in fact, was an officer selected by the captain of the Khitomer to accompany him back to his ship. As a consequence, first names and nicknames were common among them, and some of the other bridge crew as well.

However, Sutherland was a little surprised to hear Aunroz's assessment. Normally the Trill was more restrained and diplomatic, more naturally than Sutherland was. However, two days ago she had to keep a Vorta from bleeding to death from behind Sutherland's jury-rigged forcefield, pausing from synthasutures only long enough to discharge her assault rifle into - and through - the skull of Kam'tar, a particularly dangerous Klingon they brought in alive before. She had wondered, when they apprehended him, what might happen should he ever be released.

She didn't have to worry about that any longer.

It's a good thing Aunroz was far stronger than she looked, both physically and mentally, thought Sutherland. She'd have broken by now if not.

"Maybe," Sutherland says, "But considering the way the Admirality's basically a passive-aggressive political disaster area non-stop, first time around we need to be more polite." It did not escape him that he outranked most of the people he was to be addressing. But there were more than a few that hadn't logged a single star hour in years, and forgot what it was like to fly anything other than a desk - and even among those who did, he could think of at least one that should have never been in the captain's chair in the first place, one who Aunroz and Corspa were both able to read between the lines to identify.

The joy of internal politics - how he was able to accept a promotion to flag rank and retain command of a front-line ship was beyond him, but he suspected that, if the sheer number of up-and-comers making up the current ranks of captains was an indication, there would be even more relatively untested occupants of the center seat, making his relatively meager time in command seniority, if by a frighteningly tiny amount, and desperately needed seniority at that. "What was that Andorian phrase?" he turned towards his XO, who paused for a moment, before she uttered in Andorian, translated by the computer.

<<You can catch more flies with honey than assault rifles.>>

"Isn't an Andorian fly twelve inches long with mach 1 flight and exoskeletal armor that first-generation anti-disruptor armo was based on?" Aunroz inquired, a slight smirk coming to her face.

"Details." Corspa waved off the comment, though the humor of the statement was not lost on her. "Alright Jonny, you're the captain. I'll have my report off in an hour."

Sutherland nodded as he tapped a button on the PADD quietly, transmitting the quadruple-encrypted communique to Starfleet - and sending a copy to Fleet Admiral Quinn, one of the few commanders he thought were above the politics and bickering among his fellow admirals who were, for the most part, two to three times his age. A pause.

"...and Corspa," he said, rising - all three were going to man their stations on the bridge, but only for the moment would they have privacy. Both Corspa and Aunroz stopped and looked towards their commander to see what he wanted.

"The Jem'Hadar officers," Sutherland said, simply.

"Yeah?" Corspa inquired.

"...watch them."

Corspa smirked. "Damn straight, sir." She punched her fist quietly, as Aunroz forced back a sigh of exhasperation. Between Sutherland, Corspa, Sadov, Chief Engineer Strahm, and others, she sometimes felt like the warden of the asylum that was once an Academy class, along with Nooshirsea, a member of a non-Federation race who was an instructor at the Academy and now served as Sutherland's science officer, a fast transition between who was in charge that still made everyone - except for Nooshirsea, paradoxically - feel a bit awkward. It is, after all, difficult to give orders to someone that but a short time ago you were calling 'professor' or 'sir.'

Asylum or not, though, Aunroz admitted to herself - they were her friends. And they got results.

With that, the two departed, Sutherland tapping a few keys to secure his terminal before following to join them, intent on the command chair - his chair.

Enough paperwork, he thought to himself. Time to get some real work done.
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