Posted on October 2nd, 2017 by Kathryn Harper
Although the Tzenkethi war had ended over two years ago, its losses were still being felt throughout Starfleet and the Federation. The USS Atlantis had been nearly destroyed in the ultimate battle of that conflict and, due to the difficulty and time involved in manufacturing replacement ships of all sizes, still lacked a full complement of fighters. During her last visit to Starbase Vinland, Captain Kathryn Harper had been awaiting a delivery of seven new Mustang Mark II fighters, but had only received two of them before their unscheduled departure. Now, she sat in an office aboard the starbase, having just concluded an argument with Vinland’s CO and CAG that those five Mark IIs in their inventory were earmarked for Atlantis, and should be transferred aboard her ship.
Of course, it would be trivial to contact Admiral Blackthorne’s office and have the materiel transfer orders re-sent. Given her relatively short time in command and desire for self-sufficiency, Harper preferred to at least put in a solid attempt to resolve this herself before involving the Admiral. Before the meeting, she had asked herself, “After all, how hard could politics really be?” The stonewalling she had received answered that question. According to Vinland’s CO and CAG, those five Mustangs were vital to the starbase’s defense, and since Atlantis had never taken delivery, they would remain in Vinland’s inventory until new transfer orders arrived.
This argument was, of course, absurd. While speaking with him, Harper began to suspect that Lt. Commander Yorris, Vinland’s CAG, had assigned himself one of her Mustangs and did not want to return to a Mark I. Not that she could blame him on that point, having flown the Mark II, but Vinland hardly ever saw combat, and given the firepower that a starbase had, their fighter wings were largely focused on training. The logic of it aside, the materiel transfer orders did not expire, so those fighters weren’t in her inventory when they were supposed to be, and from a military perspective, that was really all that should matter.
Why were they being so obstinate, then? The flagship of Third Fleet comes to pick up new fighters and they just say no? Harper knew for a fact that Vinland’s CO, Captain Brandis, would not have given the same answer to Admiral Blackthorne. Of course, she lacked his rank and influence, but orders were orders, especially such mundane ones as inventory allocation. Harper shook her head, stopping herself from speculating further on the reason behind their bizarre reaction to her request, preferring to not know the answer since it would likely anger her.
Instead, she tried to find a way to beat them. Harper flipped through the documentation around Atlantis’s last visit here on her PADD, finally pausing on the orders stating that they were not allowed to leave. These were the orders she had ultimately broken to rescue Admiral Blackthorne and Commodore T’Kirr from their Section 31-imposed exile, and how they had been able to escape Vinland stuck in her mind. A wry smile spread across her face as the door opened, heralding Captain Brandis’s return.
“I’m sorry, Captain,” he began, not sounding sorry at all. “We just can’t spare those five Mark IIs.”
“As a matter of procedure, Captain, you and I both know that materiel transfer orders do not expire,” Harper answered as she stood to face him. “Now, I could have the Admiral send the orders again, which I am sure he will find to be a tremendous waste of his time. I could have already done so, even. Or… I could have fabricated new orders.” She paused, letting her reference to the forgery they had committed in their escape sink in before inclining her chin to deliver the dagger. “It is not as if your staff can tell the difference.”
Brandis had taken the heat for allowing the theft of Atlantis, and even though his superiors at the time had been Section 31, the entire situation had been a tremendous embarrassment for Vinland. He let out a sigh, not having expected that she would threaten to involve the Admiralty, or that she would bring up having fooled his operations staff. “Alright, fine, you can have the fighters,” he conceded. “If you never bring that up again.”
“Deal,” Harper quickly affirmed.
Offering a conciliatory handshake, Brandis admitted, “It was an incredibly good forgery, you know.”
Harper tucked her PADD against her chest with her left arm and accepted the handshake. “I know it,” she answered with pride.