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CHAIN OF COMMAND

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by JABoomer, Apr 23, 2021.

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  1. JABoomer

    JABoomer Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Title: Star Wars: Chain of Command
    Author: @JABoomer
    Story Type: Short story (6,836 words)
    Timeframe: 50 years ABY (15 years after TROS)
    Recognizable Characters: Poe Dameron, Finn
    Genre: Sci-fi military/government drama
    Summary: Intended as a primer on the state of the galaxy after the fall of the First Order, with emphasis on the workings and organization of the new government and military.
    Background:
    In a military thriller I recently read, part of a chapter detailed how urgent information flowed up the military chain of command. I found it fascinating, and endeavored to create something similar within Star Wars.
    Canon: Events are within current Lucasfilm canon, with some Legends material sprinkled in!
    Feedback: I would love to discuss this with anyone willing to read my story.
    Notes: For background on Poe and Finn, read this (specifically the epilogue): https://boards.theforce.net/threads/my-take-on-episode-ix-the-rise-of-skywalker.50053840/
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2021
  2. JABoomer

    JABoomer Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Oct 23, 2009
    A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . .

    STAR WARS

    CHAIN OF COMMAND

    The FIRST ORDER has been defeated.

    From the ashes of galaxy-wide conflict, a new government has formed: the GALACTIC ALLIANCE.

    With relative peace prevailing throughout the galaxy, routine military patrols are conducted to seek out and extinguish potential trouble before it can erupt . . .
     
  3. JABoomer

    JABoomer Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Oct 23, 2009
    A flight of four T-90 X-Wing starfighters cruised in high orbit above the watery world of Dellalt. Raptor Flight Three, of the Galactic Alliance Defense Force, was led by Captain Swan Domina, call sign “Trix”. As they conducted their patrol, Trix gracefully maneuvered his formation of X-Wings around satellites, spaceships, and even a few space stations.

    Dellalt was a member of the Galactic Confederated Alliance of Free Systems – Galactic Alliance for short. These types of patrols were meant to show the flag and reassure the people of Dellalt that they were a valued member of the galactic community. Occasionally during such patrols, pirates, smugglers, or terrorists would be spotted and pursued, but Trix was not expecting anything exciting to happen above this sleepy planet in the Outer Rim.

    It was with this in mind that Trix witnessed a fleet of warships exit hyperspace to the forward quarter of his X-Wing. Trix’s eyes bulged at the sight and his back quickly straightened against the support of his ejection seat. An awed, “Whoa…” issued from his cockpit comm speaker as one of his wingmen put to words the shock that he was feeling himself. Noticing his fighter wobbling, Trix tightened his grip on the flight controls and made a mental note to refocus on flying and leading his formation.

    The newly arrived capital warships engaged their sublight engines and began to deploy their starfighter escorts out of hangar bays. As the fleet spread formation, a broadcast began within Trix’s cockpit, “This is Admiral Xavier of the Tion Hegemony. Dellalt has forty-eight standard hours to declare their intention to return to the protection and prosperity of the Hegemony. Failure to do so will result in a blockade of the system. This will be your only warning.”

    The next thing Trix heard were his three wingmen – all young flight lieutenants – reacting to the Tion broadcast.

    “Holy poodoo.”

    “They can’t do that.”

    “Orders, sir?”

    Trix keyed his commlink to the inter-flight frequency. “Standby,” he replied to them all. As he maintained course, he selected a new frequency while keeping an eye on the deploying Tion fleet. The commlink connection wouldn’t stabilize, and Trix figured that the Tion fleet must be jamming civilian frequencies. After a few seconds, his X-Wing’s military grade equipment broke through the ‘noise’ and stabilized the connection. He spoke into his comm, “Raptor One, Raptor Nine, copy?”

    Raptor One – Commander Jenn Elson, was a female human from Corellia, and commanding officer of the Galactic Alliance 498th Starfighter Squadron – the Raptors. Elson was currently leading her own flight of four X-Wings, patrolling the other side of the planet.

    Elson heard Trix’s comm in her cockpit and replied immediately, “Copy, Trix. Go for Raptor One.”

    “Did you receive that Tion transmission?” Trix asked.

    “Negative,” Elson answered in a tone conveying her confusion. They were near Tion space she thought, but her comm hadn’t picked up anything unusual on this patrol.

    Trix explained, “Roger. Tion fleet full of shiny Corporate Sector warships just dropped out of hyperspace. They’re threatening a blockade in forty-eight hours if Dellalt doesn’t rejoin the Hegemony. It must have been a tight-ban transmission sent down to the capital, and my flight was just close enough to receive it. Their fleet is deploying now, you’ll pick them up in a minute or two, several ships are orbiting your way.”

    Surprised, Elson tried to process the news as quickly as possible. “Are they taking aggressive action towards you?” she inquired urgently.

    “Negative,” Trix calmly answered. “Looks to me like their fleet is deploying in preparation for the blockade. We’ve got a flight of fighters headed our way but no hostile intent at this point.”

    Elson nodded in her cockpit as she comprehended his words. She then directed, “Okay, stay sharp. Standard rules of engagement still apply, but don’t let them screw around with you.”

    “Wilco,” Trix replied – abbreviated comms for ‘will comply’.

    Elson activated her comm again, “One last thing, did you say there were Corporate Sector ships there as well?”

    Trix clarified, “Negative, One. The Tion fleet is composed of mostly Corporate Sector manufactured ships, most of them look right out of the shipyard. The transmission and the insignias we’re seeing are clearly Tion.”

    Elson nodded again, the situation becoming clearer in her mind. “Okay. Hold tight. Let me know if their interest level in you changes.”

    “Wilco,” Trix answered again.

    Elson quickly adjusted frequencies and instructed her own flight, “On me.” She then pushed her throttles to the stops, intending to take her flight around the planet to support Trix and his X-Wings. She received three comm clicks in reply, signaling understanding from her wingmen who had listened to her exchange with Trix over the squadron frequency.

    Changing frequencies again, Elson placed a call to her superior, “Raptor One to Lieutenant Colonel Ne’kem,” she said while tuning her scanners.

    Lieutenant Colonel Zic Ne'kem was a Bothan officer aboard the nearby Tallon-class Carrier Starfire. He was currently sitting in a conference room with the other command staff of the Galactic Alliance 548th Armada.

    Within the Galactic Alliance Defense Force, an armada was a small group of capital ships – warships over 100 meters in length. It could be anywhere from two to nineteen ships, but most armadas contained five to ten. In this case the carrier Starfire was escorted by two Majestic-class Light Destroyers and four smaller corvettes and gunships.

    Ne’kem’s current posting was as the armada’s starfighter component commander, where he oversaw all Starfighter Command elements. The Defense Force was composed of three branches. The Navy operated all large, space fairing vessels. Starfighter Command operated the smaller spaceships – fighters, bombers, gunboats, etc. – that primarily supported the larger naval ships. The Army conducted all planet-side warfare, but also had soldiers stationed aboard navy ships, mainly to conduct boarding operations.

    The branches were responsible for the training and organization of forces, and each maintained their own rank structure and traditions. Units from the three branches would deploy together during operations, usually in the form of naval formations as there was no need or want for planetary garrisoned forces within the Galactic Alliance. The Defense Force was a deterrent, they were defenders and peacekeepers, not occupiers.

    Ne’kem was seated to the side of the table, at the head was the commander of the 548th Armada – human Commodore Bratt Weileigh – a naval officer. Also seated were the rest of the armada’s command staff: Weileigh’s Chief of Staff, the carrier’s commanding officer, and the armada’s Navy and Army component commanders. This command structure was typical of joint forces in the Defense Force, where the commander – who could be from any branch – was subordinated by component commanders, who could advise on tactics and strategy specific to their branch.

    As Ne’kem’s personal comm chirped, he glanced at the incoming signal, turned away from the table in his chair, and received the call as discussions around the table continued. “Go ahead,” he quietly spoke into the device.

    Elson responded manner of factly, “Sir, we’ve got trouble. A Tion fleet just came out of hyperspace and…”

    Ne’kem cut her off, voice raised as he spun back around to the table, “Hold on, Commander. I’m sitting here with the Commodore’s command staff. I’m going to patch you into the table comm.” As he spoke, the chatter around the table stopped and the others looked to him askingly. Ne’kem ignored them as he swiftly reached to activate the table’s comm unit and transferred the call.

    Elson heard a click over the comm before Ne’kem continued, “You’re on with the Commodore, Commander. Report.”

    Elson briefly hesitated, as it occurred to her that Trix could be playing with her. She quickly decided that the excitement and worry in his voice were genuine and continued, “Sir, a fleet of Tion warships has entered the system and declared their intent to blockade Dellalt unless they rejoin the Hegemony. I have a flight of fighters on the far side of the planet that received the Tion’s transmission. They are in contact with the Tion fleet now, and no aggressive action has been taken by either side at this time.”

    The officers around the table had intently listened to Elson’s report, now they sprang into action. Ne’kem raised his personal commlink again and selected a channel. “Deploy the alert fighters immediately. All crews to their ships.”

    At the same time, the Starfire’s female, Mon Calamari captain raised her own commlink and spoke to the bridge crew, “Sound general quarters. Do you have anything on scopes?”

    In her cockpit, Elson overheard the captain’s question and responded first, “My flight leader said that the fleet was deploying and that we should pick them up in the next few minutes as they orbit. I’m taking my flight around the planet now.”

    Taking notice of this information, Weileigh asked into the comm, “What is the size and composition of the fleet?”

    Elson paused for a moment before replying, “Patching in Captain Domina, sir. Trix, do you read?”

    “Copy,” Trix’s voice added to the conversation.

    Elson brought him up to speed, “You’re on with the Commodore. Status update?”

    Trix was prepared for this and began immediately, “We’re being shadowed by a flight of Tion starfighters, but no aggressive maneuvers have been made toward us. Their fleet is continuing to deploy, and I think they’re jamming civilian comms.”

    “Copy. Fleet size and composition?” Elson asked.

    “Fleet is Tion, looks like mostly Corporate Sector manufactured ships to me. Centered on a large carrier with two heavy cruisers, two escort carriers, probably ten destroyer-analogues and a bunch of escort ships. Roughly 40 capital ships.”

    Elson took it from there, “Copy. Standby, I’m heading your way. Starfire, I have three ships on my scanners now, I’m sure you’ll pick them up soon. Need anything else, sirs?”

    When Weileigh shook his head, Ne’kem answered, “That’s all for now, stay vigilant,” as he reached out and muted the table comm.

    Weileigh straightened to address his staff with a serious expression, “I better call this in. Dismissed. Get to your stations, move the destroyers up into defensive positions, keep comms open, and get me in touch with the Tion commander immediately.”

    His officers nodded understanding, rose from their seats, and briskly shuffled out of the conference room without chatter. As they left, Weileigh operated the table comm unit to open a new channel, program a frequency, and initiate a call.

    A friendly answer came quickly, “Hello, Bratt.”

    The voice belonged to Field Marshall Vopse, a female Mirialan on an exchange tour with the Galactic Alliance from the Mirialan Army. Vopse commanded the 212th Task Force – containing around one hundred capital ships, split into various battle lines and armadas, including Weileigh’s 548th. Vopse was sitting on her command chair located on the bridge of her flagship, the Defender-class Heavy Cruiser Intrepid.

    Vopse had a reputation within the Defense Force as someone who overreacted, but Weileigh had decided after several months of serving under Vopse that she was a bright officer who made quick decisions and stuck by them.

    Weileigh replied, “General, pleasure. I’ve got to get right too it. I’m in the middle of something on Dellalt, but we’re not quite sure what it is yet.”

    Weileigh’s introduction got her attention and her back straightened with concern and intrigue. “What have you got, Commodore?”

    Weileigh began his report. “A Tion fleet has entered Dellalt space. They’re preparing for a blockade if the planet doesn’t return to the Hegemony in forty-eight hours. We are just beginning to pick up their forward ships as they orbit the planet, but we also have starfighters deployed on the far side where their fleet exited hyperspace. Approximately…” he looked to a display to confirm there were no new developments, “…forty capital ships. No hostile action or intent has been witnessed against the planet or my forces.”

    Vopse’s eyes momentarily bulged at the news, then, she sighed. “Wow, never a dull moment, is there?”

    “Negative, sir,” Weileigh replied with amused agreement.

    Vopse was silent for a contemplative moment. Then, she asked, “What do you need from me right now?”

    Weileigh had already thought about that. “At the moment, nothing. I think it’s unlikely the Tion’s will engage Galactic Alliance forces.”

    Vopse’s gaze was distant as she nodded in her command chair. She refocused on the comm before saying, “Okay, sit tight and continue to monitor the situation. I’ll kick this up the chain. In the meantime, I’m sending you reinforcements just in case. Do you get the sense an increased GA presence will set the Tion’s off?”

    Weileigh took a moment, then answered in an uncertain but truthful tone, “Can’t really say at this point, ma’am.”

    Vopse’s nodded tightly. “Fair enough. You are operational commander; my chief of staff will let you know what ships to expect and when. Hopefully, we can diffuse this without bloodshed. Any idea what set the Tion’s off?”

    “Not yet, we’re coming around the planet to communicate with the Tion flagship,” Weileigh answered.

    “Alright, keep me updated. Vopse out.”

    Vopse reached down to the arm of her command chair and cut the comm connection. She rose out of the chair and walked briskly to the primary communications console on the bridge of the Intrepid. She tasked the ensign manning the station to contact her commander – Admiral Woc. She then bent down to use the console herself, entering the commlink frequency of her Chief of Staff. After informing him of the situation developing in Dellalt, she asked that he put together a deployment plan for her to review in five minutes.

    As Vopse closed the frequency, a new voice emitted from the ensign’s console display, “Yes?”

    The young ensign replied, “Field Marshall Vopse for Admiral Woc, please.”

    Leaning over, Vopse added quickly, “Urgent message, Level Two,” and winked at the young ensign when she glanced up in surprise.

    The officer on the other end of the call droned back, “Okay, hold on.”

    Vopse furrowed her brow and refocused on the console display. “Should I try him on his personal comm?” she exaggeratedly inquired, hoping to speed up the process.

    The officer on the other end simply stated, “It’s turned off anyways. Hang on, he’s up now.”

    Vopse briefly closed her eyes, frowned, and gently shook her head. None of this was surprising, and she was preparing herself for the coming conversation. Unlike Commodore Weileigh, Vopse had no respect for her commanding officer. Woc was commander of the 38th Battle Group, a force of about five hundred capital ships – combining five task forces, including Vopse’s 212th.

    A hologram of a male Falleen shimmered into existence above the communications console. Woc was sitting on the edge of his bed and was not trying to hide the fact that he had just woken up. Vopse noted the surprised on her ensign’s face as the Admiral spoke, “What is it?”

    Vopse stood tall, tugged on her uniform to straighten it, and smoothed her expression. “Admiral Woc, Field Marshall Vopse, sir. Situation on Dellalt, sir. Tion fleet beginning a blockade of the system unless the Dellalt government returns to the Hegemony.” She purposefully shortened Weileigh’s report in the hope that Woc would be able to understand.

    Her efforts were in vain. “Where’s Dellalt?” he sleepily asked.

    Vopse used all her patience to keep a neutral expression on her face. “Tion cluster, sir.”

    “Okay,” Woc replied.

    Experience told Vopse that he was likely done talking, even though he shouldn’t be, so she continued, “I have an armada in system and am pre-positioning forces for contingency operations, sir.”

    “Okay,” Woc replied, again.

    Vopse settled for trying to end the conversation before he interfered with her plans but also trying to nudge him towards the proper course of action as demanded by his position. “Recommend you run this up the chain of command, sir. The sooner Ops knows about this the better, they may want to get State involved.”

    Woc shut one eye and began to rub his face. His muffled response was, “I’ll call it in, Woc out.” With that he reached out and ended the connection.

    The communications ensign stared wide-eyed at where the hologram had dissolved, before turning to look at Vopse to gauge her reaction to what was clearly an unacceptable display of character for an officer in the Defense Force. Vopse gave the ensign a tight-lipped smile and thanked her before rushing off.

    Vopse was on her way to the Task Force combat information center onboard the Intrepid to see what her Chief of Staff and component commanders had planned for the Dellalt reinforcements. She made a mental note, the next time she had a spare minute, she would return and make clear to the communications ensign that not everyone in the Defense Force would play by the rules or pull their own weight, and instruct her on what Vopse has determined were the best ways to deal with such people.

    Woc yawned, stood from his bed, and winced as he slowly stretched out his arms. He lazily walked across his quarters to the commlink console, made sure the connection was audio only, and placed his call with the initial greeting of, “Admiral Woc for Burcoll.”

    Woc got nervous every time he had to speak to his boss, General Juda Burcoll. Burcoll was a human male, a no non-sense starfighter officer, and commander of the 5th fleet.

    The Galactic Alliance was a confederation of planetary governments rather than a centralized republic. This allowed planets and governments – such as the Corellian system, Hapes Consortium, Corporate Sector, or indeed the Tion Hegemony – to retain their freedom and governance. The Galactic Alliance was focused on broader issues like the protection of intelligent species, trade, stewardship of galactic resources, and maintaining peace.

    Each member government was allowed, and encouraged, to maintain their own military forces. The Galactic Alliance charter mandated that its own Defense Force be at least as powerful as the strongest two member militaries combined, thus ensuring that it would always retain the ‘big stick’. With the Defense Force having more of a deterrence role, there were no military sectors or established patrol zones within the Galactic Alliance. Operational forces were spread amongst twelve fleets, each usually responsible for about twenty-five hundred capital ships that were deployed and positioned on an as-needed basis.

    General Burcoll sat in the Fleet combat information center onboard the Guardian-class Dreadnaught Alliance, conferring with his command staff about current operations. A call came in on his personal commlink and with a push of a button Burcoll directed it to the room’s primary holodisplay. “Hello Admiral Woc, you’re on with my command staff, how are things aboard the Resilient?”

    Woc replied in an upbeat tone, completely different from his previous conversation with Vopse, “Just fine General, thank you.”

    Burcoll paused to allow Woc to ask how things were on the Alliance. When he said nothing further, Burcoll frowned and continued, “What can I do for you, Admiral?”

    “Vopse just called in an incursion. Tion fleet at Dellalt,” Woc explained.

    Burcoll shot an intrigued expression to his command staff before digging deeper, “Do we know why they’re there?”

    “Not clear, sir,” Woc said.

    Burcoll tried again, “Strength of force?”

    “Currently unknow, sir,” Woc replied.

    Burcoll frowned. He had no doubt the details remained a mystery to Woc, so he quickly decided to quit wasting time and get the information he needed from another source. “Standby for orders, Burcoll out,” he said brusquely, and ended the call.

    Woc had already walked the plank, he just didn’t know it yet. His inattentiveness and frankly, incompetence was clear to his subordinates, and while he did his best to hide it from his superiors, Burcoll had noticed. Subtle hints and official reprimands had thus far had no effect on rebounding the behavior, so Burcoll had made arrangements for Woc’s early retirement.

    Woc was among a group of officers that was rushed into service after the First Order fell. Green and inexperienced, most of the officers had found their way. Despite his shortcomings, Woc’s charming personality and political savvy had risen him all the way to the position of task force commander. Burcoll was dumbfounded anew with how that could happen every time he had to interact with the man. Absolutely no one would be sad to see him go.

    Burcoll flashed an exasperated look to his command staff before turning and barking, “Get me the Ops desk on Coruscant.”

    A young, enlisted communications specialist seated at the edge of the room turned, saluted sharply, and replied, “Sir!” before turning back to their console.

    Burcoll inquired to his deputy commander, who dealt more with the day-to-day issues concerning the 5th Fleet, “Who’s supposed to be at Dellalt right now?”

    “Commodore Weileigh commanding the 548th Armada,” was the response.

    Assuming the communications specialist had overheard the answer, Burcoll turned again and ordered, “Get him on the line as well.”

    “Yes, sir!” the specialist replied as his hands raced across the console flipping switches and entering frequencies.

    A hologram of a Mon Calamari Army officer sitting behind a desk appeared overtop of the room’s holodisplay. Field Marshall Has Vaba was Director of Operations on the Joint Staff – working directly for the Joint Chiefs. Director of Operations was one of the most prestigious positions for a young flag officer and was a tour of duty given to a rising star in the Defense Force. It was often a stepping stone towards one day serving on the Joint Chiefs as either the head of a service branch, the Chief of the Defense Staff, or his deputy. The role was to oversee all current Defense Force operations and liaise between the operational commanders and the Joint Chiefs. Vaba oversaw a small staff that manned the Coruscant Operations Center at all times, located in the Defense Headquarters.

    “Vaba here,” the Mon Calamari offered as his gaze registered the various persons he was speaking with over the holocomm.

    “Field Marshall Vaba, General Burcoll,” Burcoll said with an acknowledging nod. Burcoll had two more stars on his collar than Vaba, but as the Operations Director, the two interacted frequently and Burcoll held Vaba in high esteem.

    Vaba nodded in reply and Bucoll turned to his communications specialist, “Are we close with Weileigh?” he inquired. Receiving a quick head nod in the affirmative, Burcoll returned his attention to Vaba. “Okay, standby Marshall. I believe we’ve got a situation for you on Dellalt.” Vaba showed no emotion at this, he simply raised a datapad and began typing quickly.

    Vaba’s hologram shrunk in size and moved to the side of the holodisplay as a second hologram shimmered into existence. “Commodore Weileigh, are you there?” Burcoll asked.

    “Yes, sir,” Weileigh confirmed.

    Burcoll smirked and shot his communication specialist a quick wink before taking lead of the conversation. “Okay, this is General Burcoll. You’re on with my staff and Operations Director Vaba. What’s your sit-rep?”

    Weileigh took a breath and began the briefing he had quickly prepared. “Yes, sir. About eight minutes ago, a forty-two-ship strong fleet of Tion warships entered the Dellalt system and declared their intent to blockade the planet in forty-eight hours should Dellalt not announce their intention to rejoin the Tion Hegemony. The Tion fleet is currently deploying around the planet in preparation for the blockade, but no ships have been threatened or stopped thus far. I have my forces deployed in-system, and there’s been no hostility or aggression shown towards the Galactic Alliance. I spoke briefly to the Tion Admiral, who essentially told me he was not at liberty to discuss the operation with me. We have tried to contact the Dellalt government, but the Tion’s are jamming civilian comms and they can’t get anything back to us. Field Marshall Vopse has informed me that she is bringing in most of the Task Force to reinforce us. Some will arrive in-system, the rest at a nearby staging location. Our first reinforcements will arrive in approximately twelve minutes. Vopse’s flagship is now enroute to the staging area. That’s all the information I have for you at this time.”

    Burcoll nodded, more than satisfied with Weileigh’s efficiency. “Very good. So, we have no idea why the Hegemony is moving on this now?”

    “No, sir,” Weileigh answered clearly.

    Burcoll made eye contact with various members of his command staff as he asked, “Do we know why and when Dellalt left the Hegemony?”

    When no one spoke, Weileigh offered, “Don’t quote me, but I believe it was early Empire days, no idea as to why.”

    Burcoll’s eyebrows raised with intrigue, and he scanned his staff again, but no further opinions were forthcoming. Looking back to the holos he said, “Okay. You said you’ve not been engaged?”

    “That’s correct, sir,” Weileigh replied with a nod.

    Burcoll paused purposefully to see if anyone else had questions. Vaba jumped in, “Commodore, I just want to be completely clear, your forces are deployed in-system, are in contact with the Tion’s, but have not engaged.”

    “That’s all correct, sir,” affirmed Weileigh.

    When no one else spoke, Burcoll continued, “OD Vaba, do you have enough to go on here, anything else we can give you?”

    Vaba looked up from his notes. “Commodore, please send me the name of the Tion admiral and a copy of the original transmission made to the Dellalt government as soon as possible. Otherwise, I’ve got enough here to brief the Chief, sir.”

    Burcoll nodded once and said, “Good.” Turning to Weileigh’s hologram he continued, “Commodore keep us updated if anything changes, especially the Tion’s mood.”

    “Aye, sir.” Weileigh said with a nod.

    “Burcoll, out.” He turned and nodded at the communications specialist and both holograms winked out of existence.

    Vaba immediately rose from his desk and collected the notes he had jotted during the call with Burcoll. He exited his office, briskly walked down the corridor, and entered the Operations Center. Waiting for him – Vaba had requested his presence as soon as he realized the seriousness of the situation – was the Intelligence Director for the Joint Staff, who quickly briefed him on the recent history of Dellalt.

    After collecting this information, Vaba moved quickly up one floor in the building and entered the anteroom of the Chief of the Defense Staff’s office. The Chief’s human assistant was at her desk and as Vaba walked to her he declared, “I need to see him.”

    Everyone who worked on the top two floors of the Defense Headquarters was used to working with each other, and under high pressure situations. Lack of verbal decorum was understood to be not offensive, but rather to convey urgency.

    “He’s in with CNO,” she informed him – the Chief of Naval Operations. “Fleet recapitalization meeting.”

    Vaba tilted his head in acknowledgement, grinned and said, “Perfect, I’ll take them both.”

    “That serious?” she clarified. Interrupting two of the highest ranking officers in the Defense Force wasn’t a daily occurrence.

    “Enough,” Vaba confirmed with a head nod.

    “Okay. Let’s go,” she said, standing from her desk, straightening her clothes, then moving quickly towards the double doors leading further into the office. Vaba followed.

    She opened the doors manually and interrupted without hesitation, her boss had never barked at her for doing her job. “Sirs, OD Vaba to see you,” she announced, and moved aside to let Vaba into the room.

    Poe Dameron broke off his discussion with the Navy Chief to look at the newcomers. “Thanks, Nancy,” he said with a smile as he got to his feet in greeting. “Has, how are you today?”

    “Very good, thank you, sir,” Vaba replied as Nancy withdrew and closed the door behind her. “Situation in the Outer Rim, sir. Dellalt in the Tion Cluster.”

    Chief of the Defense Staff, the highest ranking member of the Galactic Alliance military, General Poe Dameron visualized the galactic location in his mind as he motioned Vaba to join him and the CNO. Vaba pleasantly nodded his appreciation as he walked over to sit in a chair surrounding a small table to one side of Dameron’s office. He exchanged nods with the CNO – a Duros Fleet Admiral – before explaining. “A forty strong fleet of Tion warships has deployed to Dellalt, threatening to blockade in forty-eight hours if the Dellalt government doesn’t intend to return to the Hegemony. We’ve got forces in-system, no shots fired, and no hostility shown by the Tion’s to our ships, yet.”

    Vaba paused to let the initial report sink in. When he thought both men had processed the information he continued, speaking to both with practiced ease. “Sirs, Dellalt was on the outskirts of the original Hegemony. During the Empire it was broken off as part of the Keldrath Sector. When the Imperial sectors dissolved, and most of the cluster reformed the Hegemony, Dellalt decided to remain independent. They anticipated, correctly, that there was greater trade benefit with their other neighbors, rather than within the Hegemony, as they would have been located at the edge of Tion territory once again.”

    Dameron and the CNO nodded and appeared to be keeping up, so Vaba continued, “The planet is rich in minerals and has a strong manufacturing base. It’s a water world, sirs. Eighty-five percent ocean. They do a lot of business with the Mon Cals. Which brings us to the next piece. The Corporate Sector is the primary seller of arms to the Hegemony, and they will very likely publicly support the blockade. Intelligence believes Mon Cal has already received word of the Tion action and is preparing to send a fleet to intervene on behalf of Dellalt, who have limited military resources of their own. Our forces in-system belong to the 212th Task Force, and the remainder of the Task Force is deploying to a nearby staging location in case they need to reinforce and stabilize the situation. Although this has the potential to turn into something much bigger, we think it should deescalate fairly quickly and easily, once we figure out what game the Tion’s are playing.”

    Dameron looked thoughtful for a moment, then asked, “What’s the timing here?”

    Vaba casually glanced at the wall chrono in the office. “The Tion’s came into the system twenty-one minutes ago. They gave a forty-eight-hour warning before the blockade comes into effect.”

    Dameron nodded. “And we have no clue what they’re trying to establish with this stunt?”

    “No, sir. Not yet,” Vaba replied honestly.

    Dameron looked from Vaba to the CNO, who shrugged. Dameron tilted his head, “No hostile action towards our forces in-system?” he wanted to confirm.

    Vaba shook his head, “Not yet, sir.”

    Dameron then asked, “Do we expect that to change?”

    Vaba had prepared for this question. “I can’t see that happening, sir. I don’t think the Tion’s believe this will actually result in Dellalt returning to the Hegemony. They must be looking for concessions elsewhere, from Dellalt or the GA, I can’t be sure.”

    Dameron seemed to agree with this assessment, his mind processing the variables and possible outcomes. The CNO turned to Vaba and asked, “Have we spoken to them?”

    “Their fleet commander, an Admiral Xavier, has been unwilling to discuss their present actions with our commander,” replied Vaba.

    The CNO continued, “What don’t we want to do here? What could set this off?”

    Vaba made a sour face, he didn’t enjoy not having the answer. “Unknown, sir. So far the Tion’s aren’t opposed to our presence and they must have expected GA forces would come in. I would say it’s even likely that they chose a time when our armada was in-system to start this,” Vaba posited.

    This piqued Dameron’s interest. “That’s an interesting angle. This is with the 5th Fleet?”

    “Yes, sir,” Vaba confirmed.

    Dameron nodded. “Okay. Thanks, Has. Tell Burcoll to continue to monitor the situation and react as required. I’ll brief the Minister and pass down anything that comes out of that.”

    “Yes, sir,” Vaba replied.

    Sensing the meeting had concluded, the three men rose from the table and began to depart. Dameron walked the other two out of his private office and thanked them as they left. He then turned and headed to his assistant’s desk.

    “Is the Minister in his office?” he asked. She looked down to her desk and the monitoring console that tracked the availability of senior officers and officials within Defense Headquarters.

    She looked up, nodded to Dameron, and replied, “He’s available.”

    Dameron thanked her, exited his office, and walked the short distance down the corridor to the office of the Minister of Defense. He entered the office and shot a warm smile to the Minister’s Caamasi assistant. “Morning Gav, can I interrupt the Minister?”

    “Go right on in,” the assistant confirmed with a nod and smile from his desk.

    Dameron continued across the anteroom, opened the door to the Minister’s private office space, and entered. The Minister was reading a datapad at his desk and looked up as Poe shut the door behind himself.

    Dameron’s civilian counterpart, the Minister of Defense was a Bothan named Hum Dunaav. One of seven ministers who each oversaw a large government ministry and reported directly to the Prime Minister – the head of the Galactic Alliance government bureaucracy.

    “Good morning, Poe. What’s up?” Dunaav spoke in a pleasant tone.

    As he walked from the door to Dunaav’s desk, Dameron happily replied, “Morning, sir.” He sat down on one of the chairs facing the desk and his expression soured, indicating he had bad news.

    Dunaav picked up on the change in demeanor, and a ripple went through his fur coat. He asked, “It’s not that bad I hope.”

    Dameron explained. “Some action at Dellalt in the Tion Cluster. Basically, the Tion’s are threatening a blockade unless Dellalt joins the Hegemony. No shots fired yet, and we’ve got ships in the area monitoring the situation. We don’t know what the Hegemony is really after, but this will be on your radar shortly. The neighboring sectors are beginning to pick sides and mount up.”

    Dunaav frowned as he absorbed the situation. Finally, he said with some humour, “Yes, well, a member state invading another doesn’t happen every day.” He paused, thinking to himself, before continuing, “Okay, let’s brief the Chief of State.”

    Dameron nodded his agreement as Dunaav put down the datapad he had been holding. Dunaav squared his chair to his desk as he activated the holo-comm console built into the desk surface. Within seconds a direct connection was established with the Chief of State’s Chief of Staff, who controlled access and information to the head of the Galactic Alliance.

    A female Cerean shimmered into existence above Dunaav’s desk. Dunaav worked the console controls, moving the holo to the side of the desk so Dameron could properly interact with the Chief of Staff as well.

    “Minister, General,” she courtly acknowledged them both with a welcoming nod. The holocomm built into Dunaav’s office had multiple recorders and would stitch the images of Dunaav and Dameron together to best facilitate the conversation on her end.

    “Good morning, Bash. I hope you’re doing well today,” Dunaav replied.

    Her only response was another slight incline of her head. This did not surprise Dunaav. Some found Bash to be cold, but he had come to know the Cerean to be very competent. She had the talent to read a room or situation and react appropriately to efficiently extract the relevant information for her boss.

    Dunaav continued, “A situation is unfolding on Dellalt. I think the Chief should be brought up to speed immediately.”

    Bash considered the request for only a moment. She had worked with Dunaav long enough that she knew he understood what her requirements were for briefing the Chief of State.

    “Very well,” she said, and placed the call on hold. Her holo blurred into obscurity.

    Before Dameron or Dunaav could fill the sudden silence, the holo brightened and split to show both Bash and the Chief of State of the Galactic Alliance, the leader of the free galaxy, Finn. Finn’s eyes immediately went to Dameron. “Poe!”

    “Finn!” Dameron excitedly answered back. “What’s on your plate today?”

    Finn made an exaggerated face. “Trade deals, tax laws, Senate squabbles, spending requests .. I hope you’re not going to add to my pile,” he said, finishing with a big smile.

    As the Galactic Alliance Chief of State, Finn not only led the Prime Minister and the government, but the President of the Senate and that body as well. The position also made him Commander in Chief of the Defense Force. When Finn had first entered politics, he had no ambition for power, but working to get things done on behalf of his fellow citizens became his passion, and it had taken him to the top. He was a busy man, but he still found the work rewarding.

    “Oh, you can handle it,” Dameron replied.

    Everyone knew that the two had met aboard a First Order Star Destroyer and hatched an escape plan, becoming fast friends and forming a key part of General Organa’s Resistance. After the First Order fell, due in no small part to their actions, they had gone down separate paths in the Galactic Alliance government. Now as the highest civilian and military members of government, it was the frequent, quick conversations like this that kept their friendship kindled more than anything else.

    Bash and Dunaav remained silent as the two friends spoke to one another. At first being around two people in high office who treated each other so informally provoked awkwardness and jealousy for those around them. People got used to it, and now it was just how business was done when the two were in the same room or on the same call.

    Finn realized he had neglected Dunaav and corrected the mistake. “Minister, I hope you are well today?” he asked warmly.

    “Quite so, sir,” Dunaav replied genuinely. Almost everyone at the senior level of government got along. For one, Finn was hard to not get along with, but he also valued honest and good heartedness in his closest advisors and government leaders. Plus, Bash made sure personality problems never rose to a concern.

    Finn’s smile finally faded as he got down to business. Glancing at both Dameron and Dunaav, he asked, “What have you got?”

    With a gentle hand gesture, Dunaav yielded to Dameron for the explanation. Poe tilted his head in acknowledgement and began. “The Tion Hegemony has deployed a fleet into the Dellalt system, on the edge of Tion territory. They are threatening a blockade if Dellalt doesn’t rejoin the Hegemony. They’ve been separate since the fall of the Empire.

    Finn’s face fell and he sighed. “Two GA governments at odds with one another?”

    Dameron nodded. “Yes, sir. But that’s what you’ve got us for. We’ve already got forces in-system, with more pre-positioning. We’re monitoring the situation closely.”

    Finn smirked. “I’ll take all the help I can get, seeing as the members of the Senate can’t all just get along. What are we anticipating next?”

    Poe continued, “The blockade is set to begin in forty-eight hours. We have reports that neighboring governments are beginning to take sides and mobilize ships. Intelligence suspects the Tion’s are really after a concession elsewhere, but we don’t yet have a working theory on that.”

    Dunaav spoke next, “I recommend we tread lightly so as to not set anything off, sir.”

    Finn nodded. “I completely agree. Continue your operations gentlemen. Let me know if anything changes.”

    Dameron looked to Dunaav and nodded. “I’ll pass down the word.”

    Finn’s gaze shifted to Bash within the holo. “Bash, let’s schedule a security council meeting in an hour. Get the Minister of State up to speed ASAP, it won’t be long before she’s getting calls from Senators. Please inform Grand Master Skywalker as a courtesy.” The Jedi Order was not part of the Galactic Alliance government, but the two often worked hand in hand. “Everyone start prepping for a joint State/Defense statement and press conference after we meet,” Finn finished.

    Everyone nodded their understanding.

    “Bash, when State is up to speed, we should meet with the Tion and Dellalt senators. In my office, if possible. Maybe we can get a straight answer about the Tion motives here.”

    Bash nodded. “Right away.”

    “Anything else?” Finn asked. When no one spoke up, Finn smiled and said, “Okay, thanks guys.”

    Bash and Dunaav said goodbye. Dameron ended with, “See you in an hour, boss,” before the holo winked out.

    Dameron looked to Dunaav and asked lightly, “All good?”

    Dunaav chuckled in response and replied, “Yes. It’s never boring around here…”

    Dameron left the office and headed straight to the Operations Center, where he exchanged information with Field Marshall Vaba and briefed him on the path forward. After Dameron left, instructions began flowing back down the chain of command, and in less than five minutes everyone down to Trix and the other starfighter pilots of Raptor squadron had been briefed on the current plan to deescalate the crisis.

    Except for Admiral Woc, who was in the sonic shower, and had asked not to be disturbed.
     
  4. JABoomer

    JABoomer Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Oct 23, 2009
    THE END
     
  5. JABoomer

    JABoomer Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Mods: Could you tag this as "Beyond the Saga". Many thanks!