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Capt. Shayne: With Friends Like These...

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I really enjoyed @Randal Shayne's use of flashbacks, here! I read this on my phone yesterday and just now remembered to share it here. It's a solid sim that gives us both an understanding of the coming mission, and the character. It was a joy to read, and, as I said when I finished reading it: "I guess that's why he gets paid the big bucks."


((Deck 1, Conference Room, USS Arrow))


Shayne chewed the inside of his mouth as he watched as one officer after another poured into the meeting area. His grumpy facade was earned, though it was not directed at any individual who entered- save for Ohnari, who was the culprit of his new discomfiture. There was a conspicuous absence of edibles on the table, something Shayne had grudgingly approved of as one step in his seemingly endless road towards becoming less of a tightwad. Now, though, the gleaming wood was barren, and he glowered at the aspiring chef for her malfeasance. 


Shayne: oO Making something that good without a warning sign on the side. What does she think she’s playing with?! Oo


Of course, if he’d simply eaten in moderation- limiting it to two or three of the delectable cubes of excellence- he’d not feel this ugly inside. His stomach burbled, and reason took a swift hike. It was much easier to blame Ohnari instead of his own gluttonous lack of decorum, so that is precisely what he did. For the moment. 


Or longer. 


He wondered if he had sufficient willpower to endure asking the medical department for some edible WD 40. 


At last the last straggler entered, and the number of chairs around the table was reaching peak capacity. Shayne suppressed an ungainly burp, tried not to meet Ash’s predictable expression with his own gaze, and turned the assembled people’s attention to the holographic display. A singular, nondescript planet appeared and hovered patiently. 


Shayne: Naz. Class L. Inhabited- several hundred thousand on the primary colony at least. We have no numbers on their offshoot establishments, but we can bet the population is close to a million. 


He pressed another button and red spots appeared all around the globe, both on the landmasses and in the sea. 


Shayne: Deep core mining was done here consistently enough for the mantle to experience a chronic offgassing and shrinking effect. In order to keep the planet stable, and the air breathable, terraforming equipment is brought in on a regular basis. 


He thought back to his conversation with Buford and Niac the day before. 


((Flashback, about 18 hours ago)) 


Shayne:  Let me get this straight. Deep Space 33 will be playing host to a Sheliak diplomacy contingent trying to resolve a matter of contention in the Isles?


Shayne was not as dumb as he looked, and this was fortunate most of the time, because even when he looked at himself, intelligence was not evidenced foremost in his bearing. Yet on occasion, it was helpful to present a degree of stupidity, either to bluff an opponent, lull an enemy into a false sense of security, or simply clarify instructions that were important to comprehend. 


This was not one of those times. 


He kept his poker face studiously raised as Buford offered a long suffering sigh and continued. 


Buford: Captain...As I've explained it's nothing quite that simple.  Deep Space Thirty Three stands at what is possibly the greatest moment of change for multi-species relations in this entire sector.  Species who have enormous animosity for one another, and a propensity for the violent resolution of grievances, have instead come to the Federation to serve as neutral arbitrators in their dispute.  It is exactly the sort of opportunity I have long insisted would naturally occur should the Federation set up a diplomatic presence in this region.  The very purpose for this station...to resolve disputes with thoughtful consideration and not with violence and weapons.  


Shayned turned a patently incredulous look at his first officer, desperately trying not to wonder out loud about how what he had said in any way whatsoever contradicted Buford’s inane yowlings. 


Shayne: Thoughts?


Niac: It's nuts, sir.  And it sounds like an obvious ploy to manipulate some well-intended but naïve fool to make themselves the Sheliak's fall guy when it all goes sideways.  


((Timeskip, present)) 


Shayne: The trouble is, the colony has to import these technologies, and there are two sides in the region willing to take their latinum; the Ferengi and the Sheliak. The space the planet lies in is claimed by both sides. 


He pressed yet another button, regretting how much of a slideshow this was becoming, to display the region around Naz, where orange and blue sector possessions met near the middle, and firmly ensconced the wayward planet. 


Shayne: There have already been some skirmishes in the region, both military and civilian. Starfleet has been asked to provide mediation services, and both parties have agreed to a conference here on DS33. 


Shayne: oO Unbelievably. Oo


He couldn’t help but send a grudgingly impressed mental sentiment to the windbag that was Ambassador Buford. Credit where it was due- if he had in any way helped bring two conflicting and disparate economic and social interests to the table, he was good for something, Shayne had to suppose. Then again… 


((Flashback, 18 hours ago)) 


Buford:  Your nuanced and insightful opinion of the situation notwithstanding Commander, Deep Space Thirty Three will be hosting these discussions within the next two days.  And while I have expressed to Starfleet Command how much I feel this is unnecessary, the Arrow has been tasked with providing security for the delegates, from what they were not specific.  Perhaps you could fly loops around the station, Captain, I'm sure that would make us all feel that much more secure.  


Shayne’s eyes flashed upward, and he frowned in long-suffering acceptance. He was used to jokes about his dubious command reputation, the size of his vessel, and even her ability to hang in a fight, despite the fact that she’d done marvelously before. It still stung, especially considering his best revenge would be ensuring that this pompous queef and his entourage did not come to harm in the pursuit of their (admittedly important) duties. 


Shayne: I doubt it’s necessary, Ambassador- we already run circles around it. 


Niac:  Ambassador, Captain, We seem to have quite a lot of work to do before the delegations begin arriving.  I assume we can coordinate with Commander Stergis for logistics and background information on the delegations?  


It was entertaining to see his big, burly, grungy first officer playing peacemaker. 


((Timeskip, present)) 


Shayne: I’ll be taking a team with me to the station to assist in facilitating the event. Commander Niac will take Arrow and the remaining crew to monitor the situation at Naz, help protect the colony and ensure that cooler heads prevail. Calm professionalism is the order of the day. This is a hotbed, and a powderkeg that we’ll be forced to clean up if it blows. Inform your departments that they’re to take no provocative or unsanctioned actions. 


It rankled to present Buford’s advice to his staff in such a direct fashion, but as much as he regretted it, his words were valid. Shayne understood just how twitchy a diplomatic function could be if insufficient caution, or even a moment’s stupidity, won out. 


((Flashback, 18 hours ago)) 


Buford:  I'm sure the Commander will be able to tell you whatever you'd like to know but I want to be clear about something right now.  This meeting is critically important to the well-being of this region of space and I will not have it disrupted by any of Starfleet's...impulsiveness.  You are to be unobtrusive and non-confrontational with the delegates, no matter what lingering animosities might exist between you.  If you're incapable of that then remove yourself from the area until the arbitration is concluded.  Am I clearly understood, Captain?


Shayne leaned forward, now entering a true argument. 


Shayne:  You are. Now let me be equally unequivocal. My job, beyond exploring, is to protect Starfleet interests in regions I have responsibility for. I’ll do nothing to purposefully endanger the proceedings-and I speak for my crew there as well- but I will also not show a soft belly. If the delegates want to fight, make threats, insult, whatever- I intend to give as good as I get. 


His eyes were gentler than they had been, but that only indicated his resolve all the better. 


Buford/Niac: Response 


((Timeskip, present))


Shayne: As… Commander MacKenna, Commander Serinus, Ensign Zenno, Mr. Dewitt, and Lieutenant Ohnari- you’re all with me for the conference. Commander, as soon as we depart, take the ship to Naz and do as your judgment dictates. 


Any: Response 


He had considered that- taking the two most senior security officers left a concerning gap on Arrow, but as her mission made it unlikely that she’d be taken by an enemy, and as Serinus had ensured that his staff were well drilled and trained, Shayne felt confident that the duo’s ability to protect and defend would be best put to use coordinating with the unknown variable that was DS33’s security contingent. 


((OOC: Happy to backfill questions asked!))


Shayne: Alright, everyone heading for the station, we disembark at the top of the hour. Dismissed. 


Any: Response 




Captain Randal Shayne
Commanding Officer

USS Arrow

NCC 69829


Edited by LTJG Nolen Hobart
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