Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope
Scene 6: Kenneth Dolphin Commanding
Kenneth Dolphin Commanding
Dr. Carrera was exiting the bridge when Lt. Tauk arrived. Aside from the bowl haircut, the only sign of Dr. Carrera's vulcan great grandfather was the young chief engineer's emotionless demeanor. It wasn't working perfectly at the moment - his expression was frosty and he was walking a bit too carefully - as if to avoid storming off the bridge.
Tauk wondered what had rattled Carrera. When he stepped onto the bridge and saw who was in command, it became apparent. The little ferengi almost squeaked - Justice Irons was legendary within Star Fleet circles, but Tauk had never seen an actual celebrity before. "Dr. Kenny Dolphin? The Morality of Hybridizing Intelligent Species?"
Lt. Dolphin was tall, lean, blonde and arrogantly handsome. Slight wrinkles around the eyes and grey at his temples were the only indication that he was middle-aged. Like Tauk, Lt. Dolphin's black JAG uniform had gold piping, signifying operations. But Dolphin had two solid pips on his collar - a first lieutenant - a senior officer. Tauk was a 2nd lieutenant - Star Fleet tended to draw a significant difference between senior and junior officers.
"That's Lieutenant Dolphin to you, and I'm not signing autographs today, Lieutenant. Report." Dolphin's demeanor was calm and warm - a bit of a smile.
Tauk was briefly confused, then remembered why he had come to the bridge. "The tactical team is pinned down and we've lost contact with the command staff. One of my investigators got through and called for air support."
Dolphin quickly sat down in the captain's chair, then turned his attention to the pilot's station. "Staff Tactical - Gamor, take Salazaar. Get Phillips up here to take your seat." 2nd Lt. Gaia Gamor stood up from her station and called for Phillips and Salazaar as Lt. Dolphin continued giving orders: "Flight Specialists Joey Chin and Dih Terri," Dolphin didn't wait for the communications system to carry his voice to the interceptor bays - it would relay the entire message to them with less than a second's delay. "Strap in and launch your interceptors when ready. Ensign Sun, you're in command of the wagon - I need your expertise on the transporter. Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth - you're flying the wagon. Don't wait for orders - launch as soon as you're both on board and grab some atmosphere. Gamor.." Lt. Gamor had already left the bridge and Ensign Ethan Phillips had arrived and was taking the pilot's station on the bridge.
"The tactical unit is ready to launch," came Gamor's voice from the Hunter's tactical bridge.
"Launch already!" Dolphin's voice was calm, but urgent. He had been on board less than fifteen minutes, but he seemed completely at home in the captain's chair and had clearly memorized the Hunter's crew roster. "Lieutenant Tauk," Dolphin swiveled the captain's chair so he was facing the young ferengi who was still standing at the back of the bridge. "Take the bridge tactical station, transfer your operation screens up here and coordinate air support."
"Sir?" Tauk was taken aback - he had never been given this much responsibility and had expected Lt. Dolphin to command this operation.
Dolphin turned to look at him again. "You know the area and the situation. You've been trained for this, Lieutenant. You're the best chance our people have. Tell the flight team what to expect and where to train their fire." He turned his attention back to the viewer.
The Hunter's two interceptors (nimble 2-seat vessels with light armaments designed for ground support, in-atmosphere combat and limited open space interception) were already entering the atmosphere. The wagon (a heavily armed and armored shuttle) and the Hunter's Tactical Unit (an independently warp capable section of the U.S.S. Hunter that was bristling with heavy weapons and shield emitters) were close behind.
Tauk was at a loss for words, then remembered something important. He opened a channel to the support vessels: "All units, don't get too close to the ground until the ground operations team makes contact. We suspect there's at least one dampening generator down there, probably more. Try to locate those and take them out. See if you can hone in on the jamming emitters too. We need communication with our ground crew down there before you can provide close support. Pinpoint firing, minimal power. Our people might be trying to shut those things down when you find them, so use just enough power to turn them off. Let's not have any friendly fire incidents."
Dolphin smiled without turning. Star Fleet was his third career and he had only been promoted to 1st lieutenant a few hours ago. But there was no need to let the junior officers know that. Dolphin felt confident he could handle this situation, but this was a perfect opportunity to grow the young 2nd lieutenant in his career. The ferengi wouldn't be here with one solid pip and one hollow pip on his collar if he wasn't trained and ready for this.
Tauk spoke up again, "Star Fleet planetary is hailing us, sir."
Dolphin leaned forward in the command chair. "On screen."
A bearded, middle aged and clearly irritated Star Fleet lieutenant in a red uniform appeared on the viewer. Dolphin greeted him: "U.S.S. Hunter, Kenneth Dolphin commanding. How can I help you, Lieutenant?"
"Lieutenant Allen Mitchell, Director of New Hope Colony Planetary Operations," the irritated officer replied. "I have fire fights in my streets and your flotilla in my sky. I'm going to have to ask you to turn those boats around."
"This is a law enforcement operation, Lieutenant." Dolphin responded amiably, "Keep your birds on the deck and your satellites dark. I will let you know if we need your support."
"You don't outrank me, Lieutenant Dolphin, you have no authority to issue those orders," Mitchell snapped, jabbing a finger at the two solid pips on his own collar.
"Star Fleet Charter, Mr. Mitchell," Dolphin replied, his demeanor swiftly changing from collegial to coldly matter-of-fact. "All law enforcement and planetary security operations within Federation boundaries shall be conducted by and coordinated through the Office of the Judge Advocate General. I'm wearing the black uniform. Stand down, Lieutenant. That is an order. Hunter out." Dolphin made a cutting gesture and Tauk cut the circuit - the image of the irritated director of New Hope Colony planetary operations was replaced with a view of the planet.
"Hunter," Dolphin looked around the bridge. The vessel's interactive avatar, in the image of an older man in civilian clothing with a white lab coat, a gray beard and a pot belly, appeared to the right of the command chair, just behind the navigator's station.
"Lieutenant Dolphin," the avatar responded evenly.
Dolphin turned toward the hologram. "Please keep an eye on the satellites and on the interceptor hanger doors on New Hope. If one of those satellites so much as makes an orbital adjustment, I want it on the viewer. Same thing if we get a hanger door opening."
"The hanger doors are closed, but several of the satellites are scanning us," Hunter replied.
"That's fine. They can look. But if a targeting scanner or a weapons system lights up, I want Tauk to take it out," Dolphin relaxed back into the captain's chair.
"Sir?" Tauk was incredulous.
"Commander Pepper sent me the mission specs, Lieutenant. We don't know the loyalties of the local planetary unit. If those hanger doors open, I want a phaser, broad beam, low power on that door. Not enough to destroy an interceptor, but enough that they won't want to fly one through it. As for the satellites, they're antiques. I don't mind blowing up junk if it appears to be.. uhmm," Dolphin swiveled to favor the young 2nd lieutenant with a smile, "malfunctioning." Dolphin turned back to the viewer. "Mind your operation, Lieutenant."