Sunday WildCard – Cassidyverse WIP

Hello again!

Here’s another peek into the as-yet-untitled Cassidyverse novel. Kendra’s still interviewing officers for the command of the Pike, and is starting with the top: Mission Commander.

Mission Commander?

Exactly.

This is a gigantic starship. Four kilometers long, and a crew of four thousand plus. So the command structure is a bit unusual. I’ll let Kendra explain during the snippet, but military traditionalists, I can hear your screams already.

Here you go!

“Because the longest mission anyone’s been on has been six months, and that was Cass in the Connie. We’re looking at Pike being deployed three years at a minimum.” She shook her head and took a sip of her drink before continuing. “Different mindset. They all expect to come back sometime soon, relatively speaking, and they all know they’re only a Q-Net yell away from help.”

Starfleet had developed an SOP around their initial forays into a new star system. As soon as the Captain deemed it safe, a Q-Net buoy was dropped. This connected to the rest of the Q-Net, the Federation’s proprietary datanet and communication service, through quantum entanglement. The practical upshot was as soon as the buoy was deployed the starship would have near-instantaneous communication with Starfleet’s HQ aboard Njord.

“Surely one of them would want an Explorer!” Resler’s voice sounded desperate, even to herself.

“Maybe. But I want you, and don’t call me Shirley.”

“Huh?”

“Sorry. Bad, old, joke. Listen to me, Chloe.” Kendra leaned forward in her seat, at least as far as her bulging stomach would allow. “I think you have the best chance of bringing Pike out and back again in one piece, no matter what you run into. Plus, well, you know we’re not building any more Defiants.”

“Yes? So?”

“Don’t tell anyone this, but we’re finally getting closer to an agreement with the Tsar. Once he signs on, and Tamara tells me it’s just a matter of meeting his price, we won’t have a job for that class ship any longer. I don’t want you hanging around in a ship which is going to be obsolete in six months; I want you on the cutting edge.”

“Retired? You’re retiring the Defiant?”

“Not soon, and I don’t think ‘retired’ is the term Davie used. She’ll be repurposed, probably as a training vessel. We’re still looking at options. Now does my choice make more sense?”

Resler frowned but didn’t stop petting the ‘cat. “Some. It’s still a hell of a jump.”

“It is,” Kendra agreed. “But you can do it, I know it. Plus, well, I haven’t finalized the rest of your command crew so I can’t go into details. I’ll simply say they’re going to need your touch to make them mesh.”

Despite herself Resler grinned. “You’re not making this any more attractive. It sounds like you’re giving me the has-beens and never-were’s.”

“No, no. I assure you, they’re all skilled at their jobs. They need polish, though.”

“Another thought. If I take the post, and I’m not saying I am!” Resler added hurriedly, seeing the incipient triumphant smile. “If I accept, I’ll be commanding a mixed company? How? I’m only a Captain, and this isn’t a job for an Admiral.”

“You’re right. Your position will be Commander, and you will have the rank of Colonel. Your primary subordinates will all be Captains: one acting as your Executive Officer, but they’re more likely to be fulfilling the role of Captain. You’re simply going to be too busy to deal with day-to-day operations. Think of it as something between the relationship between a Captain and XO and an Admiral and Flag Captain.”

“That might get confusing,” Resler said.

“Probably.” Kendra shifted a bit, trying to find a more comfortable position. “Your experience on your Alpha Phoenicis flight shows you can adapt, though. Then you have your other two Captains. One will be in charge of Small Craft and one will command the Marines.”

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