Canopus Station
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Career Changes

Posted on Thu May 20th, 2021 @ 1:11pm by Commodore Theodore Grissom & The Narrator & Major Samuel Braddock

Mission: S2:3: Snow Drift
Location: SFMCS Normandy, Canopus Station Parking Swarm.
Timeline: MD 2 1500


Major Samuel 'Sam' Braddock sat back in the Gryphon Class fighter that had been his second home for the past six days as he ran the Combat Air Patrol or 'CAP' for Task Force Hecate as they made their way to Canopus Station to dock and transfer supplies. At the end of each day, the only thing greeting him was a cramped bunk aboard the Normandy, which had been dispatched as temporary quarters for the incoming Air Group and a Marine Company to serve as a Rapid Reaction Force for the rest of the ships in the Task Force should they come under fire from some of the friendly locals.

Banking his fighter hard to port to take another pass around the group, he heard an urgent beep on his communications net. Clicking his comm switch to open the channel, he saw the friendly smile of Petty Officer Third Class Cally Thornhill, the duty Communications Officer. One of the few 'Fleeters' aboard the Normandy, she had been the face and voice of the Normandy during many a lonely patrol and many of the pilots knew her voice by heart and practically considered her an angel.

"Normandy to Checkmate Two Zero. You are ordered to terminate CAP and report to Hecate Actual in 30 minutes." she said quickly.

Cally's words turned his blood to ice. Hecate Actual was the callsign for Commodore Theodore Grissom, the Commanding Officer of Task Force Hecate. Typically, flag officers didn't concern themselves with the affairs of Majors, so this had to be of the utmost importance.

"Roger that, Normandy. Checkmate Two Zero is incoming." he quickly activated his impulse engines and turned for home.

==== 25 Minutes Later ====

Having landed, showered, shaved, and changed into a fresh duty uniform. Sam made his way towards the Flag Quarters and halted outside of Commodore Grissom's quarters, tapping the door chime.

The Marine standing guard beside the door didn't comment. Then again in the hard shell armour, it would be hard to say anything without committing violence to do it. After a moment the door opened, and one of the Commodores aides greeted Braddock and ushered him inside. The quarters were spartan, but not by design. It was better to say the Flag Officer berths were apartments, though the sitting room of this one had been occupied by Starfleet administration. A real-time hologram of Carpathia hung in the air the burnt inner planets, a rocky asteroid ring, the gas giant Tangerine Dream and the moon Carpathia, another asteroid ring, and then a dancing pair of co-orbiting ice dwarfs.

And here and there, scattered in holding orbits or patrol patterns, was a good chunk of the Federation Starfleet. Blue contact markers in a variety of sizes picking out battle cruisers, light frigates, and the tiny pips of starfighters.

"Major Braddock," a man in his late fifties said as he stepped out of a side room. Commodore Grissom looked like an older, more Southern version of the famed Starfleet Academy groundskeeper. And if anyone had ever told him that, surely they were no longer in the service. "Sorry, we've not met before we deployed out to Messier 4. Our marching orders were cut in something of a hurry. How are you finding Messier 4, or at least the little corner of it we've carved out for ourselves? Your file tells me you're one of the unlucky souls who had something of a turn after we jumped. That all cleared up?"

Sam, seeing the gold trim of the flag officer's uniform out of the corner of his eye, snapped to attention, his gaze becoming laser straight."It's... interesting, sir. At least what little I've seen of it. The progress we've made here from an engineering standpoint is amazing. The fact that we managed to send an entire Stardock class station and ships through over this distance with surprisingly little damage and establish a presence is nothing short of miraculous." he said, switching topics "Somewhat, sir. The migraines and nausea have subsided a little but not much. Seems to get worse after a jump."

"Well, fortunately only one jump is needed to get here. And when the Orville class Jump Ships come online next month their shielding should eliminate most of the Phase Shock cases too. That should make the doctors happy, at least until we get the Beta Accelerator built and can start sending traffic back to the Milky Way," Grissom grumbled. He walked to a side table where a carafe of coffee was sat and poured himself a cup. "As for the rest, well the SCE's are nothing if not miracle workers. They tell me we'll have the first dry dock spun up inside of six months, then we can use that one to make the next two. After that, it's just logarithmic doubling until the Pollux Yards are fully online."

He turned back to the hologram, and gestured with his cup.

"Go a smidge faster if the Unicorn A & B belts weren't infested with Reka who survived the Battle of Carpathia. Somewhere in amongst the high-grade ores and rock of those belts are a score of Reka carrier ships and their fighters. They are making it hell on wheels to get anything mined out of them. Every time the Space Mining Guild sends out a ship, they demand we send along half the task force to guard them. A Century class battle cruiser is not a fly swatter, but you try telling that to an angry Gorn," Grissom sipped his coffee. "Oh, pardon my manners. Do you want some? The real deal, the only vice I have is a good cup of joe."

"I'd love some, sir." Sam said, stepping closer to the holographic map and motioning towards the peripheries of the belt. "Worst case, you could dispatch a couple of air elements. I'd suggest Arrow Classes for a mobile sensor picket along with some modified Peregrines for heavy weapons support and Gryphons running your fast attack maneuvers."

"Peregrines..." Grissom chuckled as he poured another cup, and brought it over to Braddock. "I remember when they first came online, right before the Dominion War. Uparmoured runabouts without the creature comforts. I find myself in agreement with you on the use of a few Arrow's as SWAC's, even have some of the new towed sensory arrays that the tech boys have been promising for some time. But the Space Mining Guilds got its hooks into the Federation Council, got them biting at one end and the Federation special counsel at the other."

He held out the cup.

"Reckon you can figure out what'll happen if they meet in the middle. What we need is a show of force and ability that highlights the Reka can be dealt with, without deploying Fleet assets that are better served elsewhere. Mostly because they are ineffective in the role of small craft deterrence. But also because they are targets of opportunity for the Reka carriers to go after," Grissom sipped his coffee. "If I give you the rope needed to get this done right the way you see fit, you think you can show the SMG that a squadron of fighters will cure what alies'em?"

Sam took the cup, savoring the smell of freshly ground beans. “Sir, if you give me command of the support elements I need and a fixed base to operate from, I’ll have this belt locked down tighter than a Ferengi funeral vault.” Taking a long sip of the coffee and fighting the urge to sigh at the taste, he continued. “When do you need me operational, sir?” Sam inquired.

Grissom sipped his coffee.

"A more delusional officer would say as soon as possible, but I want this done right and spiked on the first touch down. You tell me how long you need, and what you'll need, and I'll get it done. As for a base of operation...huum." The commodore rubbed at his chin scruff. "Currently you're working off of the flight deck of the Normandy. Canopus Station has the best facilities for this sort of operation, and it has a vacancy in its henhouse following the departure of the 82nd Advance Deployment Squadron. You'd be liaising with station command, fellow by the name of Captian Ingram. Bit of a snake, came up through the science ranks and like to brow folk with his triple-digit IQ. But he runs a tight station. You tell him I said that you'll be in civilian garb before the day's done. If that don't suit there a dozen moonlet's orbiting Tangerine Dream the SCE's have been turning into shore battery stations. Wouldn't take much to mine out a few caverns, make a dug in redoubt for your fighters if you wanted."

Sam thought for a moment, taking in all of the information he was receiving. "Well, taking a logical look, moving things like a maintenance team, equipment, and people into a cave would take more resources than we can spare right now, especially taking into account any medical, engineering, or other needs. However, they could act as backup locations if they need to make a hasty landing." Sam said, laying out his plan and wondering if he'd said too much.

"Something to work on then, whilst you work. I'm sure Captain Ingram can put you in contact with his engineering folk to make things happen," Grissom said. "Other than cutting your orders, anything else you need from me and my office?"

“No, sir. I’ll coordinate with Captain Ingram if I need anything stationside and I’ll have a report for you within 36 hours.” Sam snapped to attention. “Request permission to depart, sir?” He asked in the typical Marine fashion.

"Permission granted. I'll call up to Operations and have an Arrow on the ready deck to take you to Canopus Station along with your effects at 1800, give you a few hours to get your affairs in order," Grissom said, returning the salute. ' I look forward to seeing the work you achieve out there. This sort of place, an officer can write their own ticket to grace. One of the perks of the frontier."

“Thank you, sir. I won’t let you down.” Sam executed a sharp about face and exited the office, the thud of his footfalls echoing against the bulkheads.



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