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Posted on Sat Mar 30th, 2013 @ 11:21am by Lieutenant Commander David Burkeson

Mission: Part of the Team
Location: Captain's Ready Roon; DS12


“Good morning, Major Finn,” Harrison said politely. “Please...take a seat. I am told you have a good understanding of Klingon etiquette. It is a pity your grasp of Starfleet etiquette is not quite so well developed. Nonetheless, we have a common goal and I suggest that we put our differences aside to achieve it.”

'That sounds a lot better than the attitude earlier, Harrison." Finn said, sliding into the proffered seat, "Though I still detect a certain thread of rebellion that doesn't bode well for harmony. Klingons may handle etiquette differently, but at least they understand and respect authority. Doesn't matter though. I didn't come here to make your life difficult. Quite the opposite, in fact. And if we can work without friction, no doubt the work will be that much more efficient."

"I took the liberty of meeting with your XO shortly after our last encounter." Finn continued, "I left matters open with him to allow a direct transfer of information between our commands at the executive level if need be, so we have that option as well" least they understand and respect authority, Harrison thought. That’s good coming from you. But he’d resolved to tolerate this marine as much as possible. Nothing was to be gained from belligerence and standing on dignity and much could be gained from co-operation.

“As you will have already noted,” he said, “Deep Space 12 does not rank high in Starfleet’s list of priorities. For example, our fighter wing is a hodge-podge of Valkyrie and Peregrine class vessels. We even have two Warhammers. Then there’s Commander Burkeson’s Defiant. If we are to stage an effective defence of this sector, it would be better if it were all Valkyrie or all Peregrine. Ideally, we would have a wing of each. If your authority is as extensive as you claim, maybe you could swing that for me. I’d be willing to give up the Warhammers in exchange. The Steadfast would make a good command vessel in the field as well as taking on defensive roles of its own.”

"Steadfast is better designed for short range transports and interdiction missions." Finn said, "Given the state of the region, I may be forced to use her for some of what I need to do, but she's hardly a first-choice command vessel. As to fighters, they only contribute to the defense of a sector when mobile aboard a starship. I can see the need for stronger fighter defenses here though, as you say. Starfleet has already begun deploying a Marine Valkyrie squadron here that should be arriving in a few days, tops. Further assets will be assigned as needed, after I've completed my assessment. It may well be that this position, barely in control of an obsolete Cardassian mining station, might prove untenable and a more modern, defensible base will have to be constructed."

“That would please our Cardassian friends,” Harrison replied. “They’ve been making noises about reclaiming ownership of this station for some time now. However, to be perfectly honest, Major, I can’t see it happening. Your mission has all the hallmarks of a Starfleet patch-up job; an exercise in being seen to be doing something. No, I think we are stuck with this ‘obsolete Cadassian mining station’ for some time yet. On the other hand, a squadron of Valkyries would be welcome. I agree that they are better deployed aboard a mobile platform but, in the absence of such a luxury, anything is better than nothing.”

"I'm glad you agree." Finn said.

“Do not take me amiss. I do not mean to denigrate your efforts or your commitment to your assignment. Only I think you have been lumbered with the task of making very little go a very long way. Starfleet has little concern for this sector despite the noises currently issuing from San Francisco.”

"That's not my concern." Finn said, "I was pulled out of retirement to make an assessment and file a report. once that's done, 'Frisco can do whatever they want as long as they keep Earth from being bombed again."

"As to retaining this facility, you may be right but it would be stupid." Finn said, "DS 9 was in a star-system controlled by a relatively modern, star-faring society with a strong military capability, at least at the system defense level. There was infrastructure there, an in-system ally to call for help and a populous and settled world to fall back on if need be. It was never hanging out in the middle of nowhere like this, on it's own."

"Plus it was not a Federation base, but a Bajoran one with Federation advisers. At least until Bajor joined the Federation anyway. There were and are still those who felt that that base should be scrapped then and replaced with a better facility, but there is a strong sentimental attachment to it in certain of the corridors of power."

“Which begs the question of what Cardassia would think if we handed Roark Nor back to them then built a state-of-the-art facility on their doorstep. My belief is their concern is not with getting their property back but in establishing a presence in an area they perceive as ripe for takeover. While DS12 remains in Federation hands, their machinations are stymied, short of going to open warfare.”

"The same would stand true if we built a better base out here." Finn retorted, "This is Federation space. Even if we ceded the station to them, and the system with it our base would still be in Federation space and I, for one, don't give a damn what the Cardassians, the Romulans or anyone else cares about what we do in Federation space. Nor do I much care what they do in theirs. If we pursued an intelligent policy of vigilant strength, minding our own business but absolutely wrecking anyone who crosses our borders and tries to assert themselves in our territory, we wouldn't have these problems. Leave us be, we leave you be...screw with us and you are disassociated atoms. That's the way to maintain peace!"

He had been leaning forward as he spoke, voice steadily rising and had brought his fist down forcefully on the edge of the desk on the last word. Clearly, with more passion than he had intended, because he pulled his had away and straightened in his seat, looking uncomfortable for a few moments while he regained his composure.

"Sorry." he said curtly, tough with seeming sincerity, "I've spent my life on the 'stick' side of the carrot and the stick. Don't get the notion that I'm not in favor of diplomacy. But diplomacy is for those who want to talk. When diplomacy fails, that's where my real job starts. And that job is...or at least should be, making whoever stopped talking damned well wish they hadn't and damned eager not to repeat that very costly mistake."

“Major,” Harrison said, “my career is noteworthy for nothing particularly noteworthy happening, if you exclude being court martialled. Nonetheless, I am a serviceman who comes from a long line of servicemen going right back in continuous line to the days when Britannia ruled the waves. I appreciate the need for armed vigilance. My attitude to your stepping on my toes stems from a belief that we need to act quickly and decisively when our interests are threatened. This border, frankly, leaks like a sieve. Commander T’Rena was reprimanded by Starfleet over border incisions. Frankly, she was not to blame. Had Starfleet provided her with the tools to do the job, those incisions would not have occurred. Now, following Hobus, Starfleet has finally seen fit to act. But I think you will need to do more than write a report then ride off into the sunset. San Francisco will need to be held accountable. I will do my best, in Commander T’Rena’s absence, to do so but I will need your help. Make sure you hold them to their promises.”

"That's above my pay grade." Finn said, gruffly, "I have a lot of authority in this region, for the duration of my assignment, but not much beyond that. One could ask otherwise, but that's pretty futile. The strong defense wing of the Federation military has rarely been able to get much traction unless someone had or looked like they were about to have us by the throat. And forgetting the lessons of history seems to be a required qualification for senior leadership."

He examined his PADD again, then said, "That's all I've got for now. Anything else you need to address immediately, Harrison?"

The Commander eyed the Marine icily, not failing to notice the continued insistence on not using his rank as requested.

"No, not at this time." he said.



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