USS Vesta

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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A Return to Form

Posted on Sat Dec 26th, 2020 @ 9:48am by Commodore Yoshi Minawara & Lieutenant Asahi Kita

Location: Esquimalt/Haumea
3906 words - 7.8 OF Standard Post Measure

The last bits of the office had been finished yesterday and you could tell. The desk felt too perfect, the floor untouched, the large seating area and meeting table pristine. It was a room that was meant to command a feeling of grandeur, and it didn't fail to meet those expectations. It was a half circle room, with the large floor to ceiling windows staring out into the void of space, at passing vessels and the distant twinkle of stars. In front of those windows was a desk larger than completely necessary, made of a polished ebony and accented with deep crimsons. You could make out the Task Force 72 emblem embossed into the wood, a detail that the newly minted Rear Admiral found slightly tasteless, but it wasn't his place to say as much.

Next was the long table that was in front of that desk, made from the same ebony material, polished the same, and trimmed in red the same. Twenty chairs sat around it, spaced just far enough you could believe a person was sat at them. It didn't take an Intelligence Chief to recognize this was likely to be used for holo-conferences in the future. Flanking that were two hollow square couch partitions, meant for when meetings happen in person. Replicators dotted the rooms perimeter, and you could practically see the 'x' that would be marked where a steward was to stand to wait to be addressed. Or would the room use holograms? The ground didn't have carpet, but what appeared to be a rosewood hardwood floor, which made the sounds of his boot paces sound larger than they were.

Light rained down from above, concealed in the ceiling in a way that made it seem ethereal, giving the room a calming, pleasant glow. If you knew what you were looking for, you could see the mounts for banner poles, meant for when the office saw formal use. In the near future a United Federation of Planets banner would hang behind his desk permanently, to be flanked by the Starfleet and Obsidian Fleet Ensigns. Shorter, of course, than the UFP one, to show how they served. Pacing finally to the windows, the Rear Admiral tapped the window, and they polarized to black, replaced instead with displays. One showed a map of the entire Federation, another the operational space of TF72, and another still missions ongoing. Minawara studied each in kind, before finally turning to regard the chair seated behind the desk.

No, he wasn't ready for that yet.

Instead he turned his attention to his roster, and a familiar name caught his eye. CAPT Luka Mahone, Haumea Colony. A smile spread, and he thought of the unsure office. Tapping the desk, he brought up a hovering holodisplay, and keyed to pull up the current ongoing situation with Haumea. Notes indicated a new starbase was being constructed in orbit, and it looked as if Marines had been sent to assist. Major General MacTaryn's Marines, which caused a small smile to spread thinking of the General. Perhaps he would be the Rear Admirals next call, since Second Lightyear Division was the Marine Division responsible for his AO. That promised to be a fun conversation. His hand hovered for a second, as he looked at the name, and finally keyed it in. If he was going to introduce himself as the new Task Force Commander, he was going to do it to a familiar face. The display snapped out of existence, and Yoshi stepped forward to be out from behind the desk, and waited for the call to connect him to the Captain's yeoman, the projected holopresence waiting in limbo.

At first, the projected form of the young, Orion yeoman appeared to have her focus on a console in front of her, fingers tapping away at the screen as if she were moving the whole world through her actions. "Hello, you've reached the desk of Captain Luka Mahone. He is currently unavailable at the-ohmigoodness!" By this point, her gaze had snapped right over to the holo-projected form of the Rear Admiral, eyes widening. "I am so sorry, Sir. I've been fielding his messages all day so I could get him in touch with someone at Daystrom, but we can make an exception for you, Sir. Just a moment!"

Her form disappeared out of view of the camera projecting the image, and while it would take a few more moments for the Captain's holographic form to appear, the distinct sound of happy barking preceded it.

But Captain Luka Mahone would indeed appear in front of the Rear Admiral, nearly stumbling into view of the camera's line of sight, followed by the unmistakable snout of a dog. "Lugh, go find Davna," came the rather Captain-like order, and the snout disappeared from view. Straightening himself out, Luka gave the Rear Admiral a half-hearted smile. "Sir, I wasn't expecting a call from you. Is... is everything alright?"

"Everything is fine Luka," said Yoshi, returning the smile. "I am settling into the new office, and going through my list of commands to check in with, follow up with all the official paperwork," he continued, casting his eyes down instinctually. He almost expected to see the small pup come bounding into view. Would Lugh still be a pup? It had been a while. "I figured I would start with the more familiar of my bunch. I have many in 72 I never got to talk to before this week, and there are plenty of faces to familiarize myself with." The echoing sound of yipps and frustration in the distance drew a laugh from the man.

"I see Lugh is still loving everything about the colony, how are you settling?"

"Official paperwork?" There was a blank expression as Luka processed the information. There was a moment a few days ago where Davna had mentioned a promotion and a station, but, as well as everything else, it disappeared into the man's cluttered brain, along with the mention of adding another wing to the hospital, adding more rooms for Haumea's various children to learn in, and other various items. "Official... oh! Yes, I meant to send a congratulations. Or, well- I guess that doesn't matter. Congratulations, Sir. I didn't realize that went into effect so soon."

Luka smiled half-heartedly. "Me? I'm settling well enough. The year went by so fast that I didn't see it coming." One whole year on the colony. One whole year, two major discoveries, and quite a few additions that neither he nor the colony's civilian leadership saw coming. He was still hearing protests about the marine attachment...

"We've had a lot go on, and I'm sure I can have Davna send those reports. Despite all that... I think I'm more than likely to get another three dogs to keep Lugh busy. We've had the same breeder appear on the colony a few times, and I think she likes it so much she's going to set roots." He blinked. "But I'm sure that's not what you meant. The Colony's well and I haven't been thrown out for being Starfleet, that's the important part there."

The Admiral smiled softly. "I am glad they haven't thrown you out, I'd hate to have to come tell some colonial staff what's what. I already have enough flak on my plate, and it's getting hard to chew through all this lead," he said with a chuckle. He cast a gaze over to his door, think he'd heard a sound, but it was just one of the odd sounds of a station. "Speaking of your Marines, I have spoken with General MacTaryn. He says he is ready to transfer the Marines to you if you'd like. Or keep them assigned as part of Lightyear for now, to keep it easy for you." he gestured to the air, sending a series of files over the subspace connection. "Review them, give it some thought, and get back to me. I know I am adjusting to mine better than I would have admitted a year prior," he said with a chuckle.

"You'd have time. I think Davna would start fighting people before you arrived. Probably literally... you know, for paperwork's sake, it's just a good thing I haven't had this issue." Luka rubbed the back of his neck. "The Marines, on the other hand... I'll make sure to look it over." The interactions he had with Lieutenant Colonel Bradley were mostly pleasant, but with how busy everyone was, it was difficult to meet the other members of his... squadron? Group? His eyes flickered to the nearby console, where he could see the file transfer. "I've heard enough about how the civilians are not as pleased with the development, and I'm sure there are members of the Starfleet staff who have their opinions on it, but... for the moment, I'm happy to have the assistance. I feel a little honored that they're part of the Lightyear Division, really."

The hesitance in Luka's voice was followed up with an immediate self-amendment. Sort of. "I guess none of us expected Haumea to have such a necessity, especially considering our worst 'terror' would likely have been natural elements so far. But... is it rite of passage for every Starfleet Captain to have some form of Marine contingent... kind of... under their command? I feel like I hear about them more and more."

"More and more need for them," replied the Admiral, his own pang of annoyance seeping through. He'd grown rather fond of Amelia in the months that had passed since her arrival, but didn't mean he didn't have his own concerns. "We have seen the Fleet being used for more ground engagements as of late. Largely humanitarian efforts, which has been good, but we have seen our fair share of piracy and localized conflicts. The Marines have pivoted from their long standing role of training and Security support, to medics, combat engineers and even policing aid. While not ideal, I am sure the Brass at the top are excited to see them move to be used and not just consume resources." Pausing, Minawara smiled. He was rambling about Fleet politics again. "But I am glad they are settling well with you," he said.

"Sir, that concerns me greatly." Luka folded his arms across his chest, frowning. "While I can't say I'm relieved the conflicts are localized - not that I'm happy there are any at all - but we're seeing more of them. Is this a sign of something worse?" In truth, the young Captain had a strong desire to dive into the depths of the Fleet's political landscape. Aside from what he had picked up from the late James Matthews, Luka's knowledge on the subject had turned abysmal, likely because he had been up to this point willfully ignoring the whole thing. But, with the Marines on the Colony, continuing to do so would only serve as a detriment.

The older man's face scrunched up, and thought and a shared concern furrowing his brow and pursing his lips. "I can't answer that," replied Yoshi. He crossed his arms to mirror that Captain's stance. It was the truth, he didn't know the answer. "I can tell you that the Fleet has dumped a massive amount of resources into refitting this facility, Esquimalt, of getting Obsidian Command back in order. They have piled resources into training, and general ship production numbers are through the roof. But you can see the focuses appearing. Inquiry-class is fresh off the lines, with the Curiosity set to finish this year. Both are jack-of-all-trades ships, a modern day Constitution and Miranda pair. And packed to the deck plating with the weapons to match," he said, as he started to pace. "There is a Prometheus-class refit program underway to update them for Type-XIII phaser arrays, with the Galaxy and California-class being reserved to core world duties. Luna class ships are being refit with additional torpedoes and phasers. The Romulan border is a mess, the Klingons have gone cold, and the Breen have even been causing problems." The words just slipped out, a confession of what the Fleet knew to the man, honesty in it's truest form.

"If I am honest with you, with everything over the last decade, I would guess the Fleet doesn't want to be caught with its pants down if we get another war. And after the events the Vesta took part in, they don't want to look like they are abandoning any colonies either." He gestured to Luka, and then shrugged. "Tough times and tough men, as the saying goes."

"I heard about that," Luka admitted. "I... can safely say your Intelligence Chief is, how did he put it, 'wigged out' at the thought that that sort of thing just sort of happened." He paused. "Abandoned colonies, I mean. I'm not entirely certain what happened on this land as of yet, but I think there's more to whatever remained of the previous colony than what information I was given when I took the assignment to begin with." His mind wandered to the distorted message left upon the shuttle. To the shuttle itself. The crew did not expect to find anything like that on planet, but it only brought up more questions than it answered. And they were answers he needed guidance on, more than what his own people could give. Which meant he may have had to reflect on something he was going to later regret. "A number of Haumea's scientific and security investigations lead to more of that proverbial red tape. It's all too suspicious. I'm beginning to wonder if there's more behind closed doors than what should stay back there."

"There is always more between closed doors than there should be, but it isn't without reasons either," the Admiral said, nodding slowly, thinking on the long line of meetings he had been in on. "I can assure you, some of the closed conversations are best not out in the open, especially with the civilian news agencies constantly making wild accusations and theories," Yoshi said, waving his hand around the room. Stopping, he turned back to face the man. "I am sure we could rant though for hours, maybe one day you'll sit where I am and get a chance to understand." Moving about the room, barriers showing up to indicate where the Haumea office ended. He turned around to face the Captain again. "Anything else of concern? Crew problems? Or has winter finally broke for you and things are smooth sailing?"

"Er..." Thought halted, Luka shook his head. "The only thing of note is listed in the latest report - we've had to shelve the investigation of the Io for the time being, to focus on building our relationship with that of the colony's civilian residents. After word got out that the investigation turned one of it's investigators suspect - wrongfully so - we thought it prudent to let it rest. Whoever decided to plant those explosives... they haven't shown themselves yet, and it is probably not wise to do so with security on the colony as it is right now..."

The Admiral nodded, thinking it over. "If you need any other resources, let me know and I'll send support as soon as I can. And don't be afraid to ask Mister Bradley his thoughts, he was a CAG under MacTaryn, I would hope he learned a thing or two from that old Wolfhound. If you need an intel Chief, we can see about getting you one."

There was a thought. A full intelligence staff within Haumea, as opposed to the handful of consultants they ended up with. The more that he dug, the more Luka was beginning to think he might need one. But then, there was Cornelius, who offered Intelligence without shoving a whole department down his throat. But that was likely not something the Admiral would want to hear. "I'll... talk to the Lieutenant Colonel first, see what he thinks, but I'll keep that in mind. For the moment, I think the word 'Intelligence' may receive a colder reception than the word 'Marine' did."

"I can understand that, but do not allow colony too much rope, less they hang themselves with it," Minawara added darkly. The downside of an Admiral promotion was that he now had to deal with Civilian matters more frequently, and he was starting to realize it wasn't always the greatest decision to let them have free reign. He was pretty convinced at this point that if some of the other colonies in his sphere of influence would invite a Borg invasion if it meant spitting in the face of Starfleet and trying to get their own way.

Luka gave a nervous laugh. The colony itself was without its civilian leadership, save for a handful of council members. With the colony growing in size, it would have needed a singular point person for everyone to go to - right now, it seemed that Luka was that person for most of the colony's citizens. If there was ever a time that fragile relations could have been both wrecked and utilized, now was it.

He had his own first hand experiences to how a mildly disorganized leadership group could easily break down, and all the holes that opened up because of it. His mindset was not on full colonies trying to throw out their Starfleet presence. No matter what he had to deal with on Haumea, there were citizens and even leaders who were still very much on board with what Starfleet was offering, which he was taking as a saving grace. "I'll keep that in mind, Sir."

Nodding the Admiral took a breath and eased himself a little. "I have flipped through reports, not the time and dedication I was able to give to you when we first met," he said. "But I kept an eye, and from your reports, the reports of your former Task Force Commander, and a snuck report given by Bradley himself, you seem to be handling this well. It's not easy being stuck in one place, but you seem to be making the most of it. I am hoping, once all of this," he gestured around the room, "is settled, I can stop by and see the colony." A mischievous smile crossed his face. "I hear you have an excellent brewery that opened up, and I am always looking to keep a private stock." Being a TFCO had it's privilege's, one of which came in the form of getting the report on the actions of one Cornelius Warner. "Besides, I think the crew would enjoy some planet side relaxation again."

"Well, with the new Merian that everyone seems to eagerly want to press the big 'QSV' button for, I have a feeling I'll be able to stretch myself out past the planet. I don't think I mind settling in one place, for the record," Luka added. "When I had originally positioned myself my first colony assignment, I had intention of staying there for awhile." He was not as enthusiastic about leaping into another assignment that saw him on a starship in the long term. He frowned at the mention of the brewery, pursing his lips. "I don't know if I wanna share, Sir."

A skipped beat later, and Luka gave a small chuckle. "Maybe by the point you decide to stop by, we'll have a full colony instead of the three-quarters of one everyone insists isn't finished." Not that Luka could tell what the colony was missing. In the time he had established Starfleet's presence, the colony had grown so much that they were discussing adding smaller townships around the main 'city' proper. "I'm sure I could go on about what's actually on the colony now, but I do not want to keep you too long. I'm sure you're busier than I ever could hope to be."

Nodding in response, Yoshi stiffened a little. The man was write, the newly minted Rear Admiral had a lot on his plate, stuff a mile long, and stuff that needed his immediate attention. For example, he needed to elect a new second in command of the Task Force, as Commodore Saultis was retiring to a more personal life. "Of course Captain, and I have kept you long enough," the man added with another nod. "I'll likely still be aboard Vesta if you need me, but don't hesitate to reach out should you want to just chat," added Minawara. He was still getting used to the second pip, and it was nice to at least know a few of the faces. "Last but not least, take care of yourself Captain." Stepping back, he nodded, and the Comm went dead. A little quicker than the man had meant, but still, enough to get back into knowing the people he was going to be working with.

Turning back about the man looked at the desk again, and large foreboding chair didn't seem so bad. Crossing the room he stood and looked at it's high back and arm rests. It was ergonomic, meant to be sat in for a long time. Not that Yoshi had planned to sit in it that much, but then again, did any Commanding Officer expect to spend a great deal of time doing office paper work? Sliding it out effortlessly from it's place, Yoshi settled into the chair, leaned back, and took a deep breath. This isn't where he had seen his career going, but he would be lying if he said he didn't feel like he fit. "Latte, whole milk, hot," he said out loud to the ever listening computer, and on his desk, on a spot clearly outlined for it, a cup phased into existence. Picking it up, eyes closed, he took a slow and gentle sip, letting the flavour pass over his palate and he let some of the tension go. Tension he hadn't even realized he had been holding onto. Maybe he was due for a vacation sometime soon. Pushing that thought aside, he opened his eyes, pushing the chair out a bit and turned to face out the large windows, watching as star ships drifted lazily past, the last of the Corps getting ready to leave.

As the ships performed their own small maneuvers, the former Engineer tracked them with his eyes, seeing if he could remember each name, each Commanding Officer, each assignment it was going onto. It was a lot, but it was a good thought exercise to keep his mind on the role that was coming. Slowly he brought the coffee to his lips again, taking a gentle sip, and then closing his eyes to relax again. A month ago he was adjacently responsible for a few ships and their crew, but even then only as an administrative role, someone to take over if they needed. Now he was in charge of the entire Seventy-Second. Six active ships, a colony, and a Seabase. A impossibly large number of people at his disposal and of his responsibility. Another sip. It was a lot to think about, but even that was something that seemed more manageable from this chair, watching starships part in the night.

Maybe this wouldn't be so bad.


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