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SD242002.02 - Duty Log - CO - "Announcement"

Posted on Sun Feb 2nd, 2020 @ 7:11pm by Brigadier General Jonathan Grey

1,661 words; about a 8 minute read

Mission: The Sincerest Form of Flattery
Location: Versailles
Timeline: Current

=^= Main Operations =^=

Two crewmen sighed, staring at the wreck in front of them with weary eyes.

For the past few months, Main Ops had been lit by the steady glow of the holo-table. Located in the centre of the room, this circular surface had been projecting the locations of the ships around Versailles. The ones within a few hundred kilometers had glowing duplicates of themselves hovering around the station in the middle, while ships further out made do with smaller shapes, closer to the table's surface.

Right now though, the only glow came from the sparks.

Only a few minutes after the back hole arrived, a large chunk of armour had broken free from the ceiling. With a noise like a danger-close artillery strike, it had smashed into the middle of the table and put paid to the last nerves of the staff who had only just seen their CO carried away in a stretcher.

Some were still crying from all the stress, forcing themselves to keep working until friendly hands directed them towards the sleeping corner. Some enterprising soul had towed a set of mattresses up the turbolift shaft and set them up near the viewscreen, so at least people didn't have to climb down the shaft after their shift.

Near the shaft, a couple of security officers had taken up position with their rifles covering the door. On the inside of the shaft itself, two more officers were attached to the wall with a trio of safety cables. This was to keep the ladders clear, enabling people to enter and leave Ops despite the broken lift. Unfortunately the shaft itself had been warped by the black hole's gravity, preventing lifts from getting closer than three decks down.

Feeling the vibration through the shaft's walls, one security officer nudged the other, and both aimed their rifle torches down the shaft. Far away, a dark dot worked its way closer, and stopped a few decks away. From the location, it was probably another group bound for Ops, getting their stuff ready for a three-deck-climb.

Surely enough, when the lift departed, the doors to the deck it had stopped at remained open, braced by a pole. The security officer based there stuck his head into the shaft, and called up to the pair hanging near the Ops door.

"Five coming up! All good!"


Moments later, there came the shuffling, clanking noises of people in armour ascending the ladder. Though tempted to shine their torches, this would only ruin the night vision of those climbing up the shaft. There were glow sticks attached to the walls, but these were only just enough to make out vague shapes.

Eventually, the group caught up with the security officers, and one thumped on the door to Ops. On the other side, the officers pulled the door open a crack, and opened it fully once the pair in the shaft gave them the nod.

"At ease" said the General, stepping off of the ladder and in through the door, followed shortly by his well-muscled harem of Marine bodyguards.

Normally the CO's appearance would be the cue for people to make a fuss, but only a few had the energy to respond to his presence. He waved a pair back into their seats as they tried to rise to meet him, and returned a couple of salutes from folks who didn't know it wasn't required from non-Marines.

Unless someone was telling people he *liked* being saluted. He frowned, but decided to let it go. There were bigger problems.

"Lieutenant. Status report." said the General, addressing the officer next to the only operational console in the room.

"Sir. Good to see you up and about." replied the Lieutenant, offering a brisk salute.

"Thank you."

"The comms network is down, and interference from the improvised power conduits is blocking the badges. We're setting up cables and boosters to enable comms in some areas, but most people can only receive messages. As for station systems, we only have hand-delivered reports. Some stable life-support, some not, gravity's patchy, and all external systems are a joke."

"And the upside?"

"The fighters are able to get past the gravity due to their low mass. We got them to deploy a subspace comms unit just outside of the gravity well, and the fighters are configured to relay signals, so we have contact with Starfleet. Oh!" she exclaimed, tapping way at the console. "Admiral Praxis wanted you to speak with him asap."

"Put him throu-GAHHH!" he exclaimed, as another armour panel fell into the room and punched another hole in the already-ruined holo-table behind him.

"...Yeah, put him through." the General repeated, seeing a couple of crewmen shrug at the newest fallen hunk of metal. The station was a wreck, and delaying this call wouldn't fix it any faster. The Lieutenant nodded, and one simple button-press was enough to bring the Admiral up on the tiny console screen.

"General Grey!" barked the grizzled old man on the screen, glaring furiously. "Status report!"

"Someone threw a black hole at us." replied the General, bemused at just how quickly he'd gone from all-powerful CO to "underling" status.

"Do you find this funny?! Do you think this is a game?!" shouted the Admiral, causing Ops to fall silent.

"I think you're not making my life any easier." groused the General, refusing to internalize the stress the Admiral was throwing at him. "My station is a floating wreck, and we're one bad minute away from being chewed up by a black hole, so unless you have anything useful to say..." the General replied, holding one finger over the button to sever the channel.

"How dare you! Repairing your station the last time cost us every spare material we have in your sector, and then some!"

"Yeah, I read those reports. You hired white-collar criminals, got shocked when they screwed you, repeatedly, and you are *absolutely not* bringing those people back here. We have replicators, a motivated staff, and a fleet to bring us raw materials. In time, we'll be fine."

"In time!?"

"Our station was attacked with a black hole, after being sabotaged by agents camouflaged to look like us." Grey repeated, already bored by this conversation. "The fact that we're still here is a testament to the skill and strength of our people." he added, proudly.

"Just not their leader. I'm petitioning the Greater Admiralty to have you removed as CO."

"And replaced by who, exactly? Who accepts a posting to a black hole's appertif?"

"You disrespectful maggot, I'll-*bzzt*" the channel buzzed, as Grey cut the connection.

"Sir!" said the Lieutenant, shocked.

"If that Admiral calls back, hang up. That's a direct order."

"But, sir!" the Lieutenant exclaimed.

"Hang. Up." Grey repeated, slower. "He's a pompous buffoon, and we don't need his negativity while the station's clinging to life. He can fire me, but he can't overrule me. Not on my station, and not mid-operation. It's called Command at Sea."


"It means that, even were he here in the flesh, naval custom says I'm in charge. Hard rules might say otherwise, but tradition holds a lot of sway with the Greater Admiralty. Praxis can try to kick me out, but he has no chance of enforcing his will over mine. Not here. Unless, of course, you plan to arrest me?"

"But, I, um," the Lieutenant stuttered, suddenly very aware of the General's henchmen. "Uh, no, sir."

"Good." said the General, aware that he was pushing too hard given the situation. Glancing around, he took note of peoples' stances and expressions, trying to get a feel for the room. There was a lot of tension, and some uncertainty, probably over Admiral Praxis.

They needed a pick-me-up, he decided.

"You mentioned most people can't send messages, but they can receive?" he asked the Lieutenant, softening his tone.

"Y-yes, sir." she stammered, taking a breath to get her wind back. "Some areas have working comms, and most of the rest have working speakers somewhere. Advertising terminals, some fragments of the tannoy, a few working consoles."

"Can you get a recording to all of them? I want to make an announcement."

"Yes sir. You can record here." she added, pushing some console buttons to enable record mode. "I can send it out with the next supply team, and get people to copy it around the station."

"Thank you." said Grey, who paused to compose his thoughts.

After a minute, he reached out and pressed the button to begin the recording.

"Attention! This is Brigadier General Grey, Commanding Officer of this station. I have some important information you should be aware of, so listen closely."

"First, the station has been damaged, but it can be repaired in time. Starfleet is committed to staying here and getting out of this mess, so do cooperate with us while we work. It will take time, but we're not giving up, and neither should you."

"Second, the rule of law still holds. Security still patrols the station, and still helps those in need. We've already opened the emergency supplies, and we have more on the way, so do tell the teams what you need."

"Third, those who left with the ships are confirmed alive and healthy. Messages from them are being collected now, and will be dropped off as we receive them."

"Lastly, the repair process will take time. It will be long, and dull, and many of the usual entertainments will not be available at first. Which is why I'm arranging for our on-site news team to work with Engineering, to provide you with an all-new Versailles Radio station. Available soon at a speaker grill near you, this station will play the latest tunes, some oldies but goldies, and will space things out with to-the-minute repair reports."

"Remember, we're all in this together, and we *will* get through this."

"General Grey, signing off."

=^= End of Log =^=

Brigadier General Jonathan Grey
Commanding Officer
Starbase Versailles


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