Black Opal

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Black-opal-image.png
Name: Black Opal
Class: Classified Asteroid Base
Type: Weapon Storage & Research Facility
Status: Destroyed, year 2381
Dimensions:
  • Visible Surface Diameter:
    407 m
  • Total Structure Area:
    105,795 square meters
  • Mass: 107,000 metric tonnes
Decks: 17
Crew Complement:
  • 8 Officers
  • 20 Enlisted
Warp Speed: Not capable of independent movement.
Tactical Systems:
  • Type XII phaser arrays (x10)
  • Torpedo Launchers (x4)
    with 2 launching tubes each
Shield Dimensions:
  • 1500 m in diameter around the asteroid
Defence Systems:
  • Light Duranium/Tritanium Single hull
  • Low-level Structural Integrity Field
  • Classified Cloaking System
Tractor Beam Emitters:
  • 5
Docking Facilities:
  • For starships equal to and smaller than Sovereign-class
Jennifer-Dewitt.png
Image: Commanding Officer: Lt Cmdr. Jennifer Dewitt

This Starfleet supply depot was built into a hollowed-out asteroid, just outside the Romulan Neutral Zone and a few sectors away from Starbase 84. Knowledge of the Black Opal's existence was restricted to officers of Captain's rank or higher, but even then, its actual coordinates were distributed only on a need-to-know basis. Its ultimate purpose to supply starships with the necessary munitions in the event of war, but even in peace-time, it acted as a remote depot for passing ships.

Before its destruction - by the time that Starfleet Command was compromised by alien usurpers in the 24th century - the Black Opal was under the command of Lieutenant Commander Jennifer Dewitt.

Story Excerpt: Black Opal Introduction

The rarest type of opal, black opal was once the most valuable of its mineraloid kind. The brilliant play of fiery colour in these dark gems - along with their scarcity - caused them to be a highly valued find for traders, even in the 24th century. The namesake for the facility that Jennifer Dewitt commanded had been a rhetorical means for her to accept the commissioning - lubricating the position of 'command' that was shoved down her throat. Just like every other morning, the bitter after-taste still lingered, no matter how much syntheol she tried to rinse her mouth with.

In the middle of nowhere, just outside the Romulan Neutral Zone, it lay hidden - one of a several outer-rim weapons storage bases. Built into the side of a large asteroid, the construction was basic and largely utilitarian. The seemingly distant and isolated location for this base was purposeful, as its hidden status required secrecy to all but Starfleet personnel who had the clearance or reason to know of it. Indeed, Jennifer had been told - whenever she raised her issues - that the supply base had a very important purpose. It was supposed to supply starships with the necessary munitions in the event the Romulans broke the guidelines established in 2160 and war once again ensued. Because of its hidden nature, the close proximity to the RNZ could have been advantageous for keeping a close watch on the boarder. In event of any imminent breach, the Federation could have been notified immediately and not be caught unawares. Alas, that was not a priority since Starbase 84 was only a few sectors away, and lay even closer to the border. It had systems in place that made the Black Opal facility insignificant beyond its primary purpose.

The purpose of wasting your best years in waiting... Jennifer thought and downed her glass, staring into those dead, green eyes in the mirror. Jennifer had been made to believe that the clandestine existence of the facility, being responsible for resupply of photon torpedoes and other high powered weaponry would be exciting. But in reality, she felt like she was bleeding her life away. In her morning routine, following the shower, the brushing of her red hair and the hard drink, she was about to get dressed and then head to her office. The challenge each morning was to limit herself to one drink, and to leave once she finished it. So she sipped it, staring at herself as she thought of her ill fate. Trying to find some way to leave the prison of her command. Eventually, she donned her uniform and left her base commander's quarters, loathing every step she had to take.

The way the base was kept hidden so close to the boarder of the RNZ was a bit of a tricky matter. In addition to being built inside an inconspicuous space object and having a minimal sensor profile, cloaking technology had been installed in the event of raised hostilities. This was of course, a violation of the 2311 Treaty of Algeron which prohibited use of cloaking devices. However, as weapon supply facilities could change the tide of battle, and minimise damage from a frontal assault through the RNZ, it was considered an appropriate risk, being off the official record. At the event of war, the treaty was more or less obsolete anyway. As sophisticated as they were, these cloaking systems were turned off, and would only be activated after an all-green from Starfleet Command was given. As for the actual security personnel, there was minimal Starfleet Security aboard, but in lieu of a standing guard, all staff had combat training in the unlikely event of a breach aboard by hostile operatives. That was not to say there were no defences against enemy battleships. Defending this valuable weapons supply base and strategic position was imperative, or at least that was what Jennifer was told. She didn't believe any of it. Not any more. There were shields of course to defend against attackers until the cavalry could arrive, but there were also four photon torpedo launchers if retaliation was necessary. The main objective of the facility, however, was not to be found at all since it would not last for very long without backup.

As for non-combat equipment, there were meagre crew quarters, a sickbay, a mess hall with replicators, and a command centre with a view screen for vid-conferencing. There were also docking stations for resupply and long range sensors, the two most important components besides the magazines inside the hollowed-out asteroid. The sensors comprised both active and passive methods, with passive being preferred over active as it was less likely to be detected by scans. The docking stations were suitable for all but the very largest starships. They were designed with special automated weapons tracks that could quickly resupply weapons without relying on the sluggish speed of manual labour.

Stepping into the command centre, Jennifer looked at the logs on the viewscreen for a moment, nodding to the gathered staff. She got a few words of greeting in return, no more. Usually, there was nothing to occupy the crew with except for menial maintenance tasks, filing reports of useless information, and each other. Looking at the logs, it was evident how that morning was just one of those days. It had been quite a long time since the last starship came in for resupply. There would be nothing to do but a lot of the usual stuff. The lead staff stood at their stations absentmindedly performing their tasks. Calibrating and re-calibrating the long range sensors, sending orders to the twenty enlisted to meticulously clean their workspaces, or to check the replicator for efficiency, and other dull duties that occupied the twenty non-commissioned crew. People that would, of course, work just as slow to make each task last long enough to make it so that they would not run out of daily tasks. When that happened, there was really nothing to do, but contemplate the solitude they presently found themselves in.

The reason the lead officers that reported to her had ended up there varied. It was not the kind of position you wanted to end up in. Many saw the position as a punishment or demotion. As such, morale was generally low. Jennifer had more or less given up on trying to do something about it. Even though they had each other, any company, of any quality would wear thin in that level of isolation. The base itself and the command centre was not especially interesting in architecture. Basic Federation design mostly grey, with flashes of colour here and there. Red desks, floor lights, and the lighting of the control panels. Their quarters were not the most comfortable, but not too uncomfortable, just good enough which made it hard to say anything about them. All in all it was a fairly bearable but seemingly meaningless existence. They likely wondered if there would ever be a call to action for them, or if they would spend months, years of their lives in the stasis of a underwhelming job. Of course, life was what you made of it. Some tried to spice things up on their ample downtime, creating art out of whatever they could find, or writing in their logs, though for even them with same grey walls and the same stars to gaze at day after day inspiration could run short. It was mostly just work so that you could get back to more work. The only thing worse than doing the same thing over and over with the same people would be having to eat the same thing, so replicators provided a brief respite from the mundane in terms of gastronomic opportunity. There were of course different cliques and groups the crew had settled into, rigid social divides between them. Perfectly expected, and Jennifer didn't care any more.

The relatively low-ranking lead staff knew Jennifer as a strong willed and stern leader, though she suspected that her headstrong and somewhat argumentative personality had landed her in her somewhat inglorious position to begin with. Next was Lieutenant Masuda Yukimura, a soft spoken yet still commanding man, he was far less intimating than Jennifer, but to her lasting chagrin, his word was taken a bit more seriously. Below him there was Ensign T’sebl Felr, an enterprising young Vulcan man in Engineering who led the two Cadets that had the misfortune of serving at the Black Opal; Zhong Wu and Vitaly Stanimir. The head of the small science team aboard was Science Officer Morwen Angharad, a flamboyant yet kind woman who mostly kept to her research and helping iron out issues on the base with the engineers. She had a reputation of sleeping with four of the enlisted, but it was not spoken of openly. If anyone was injured or became sick, then they saw Dr. George Hernandez and he would patch them up and send them off with one of his trademark quips. Finally, rounding out the noteworthy crew members was Chief of Security Edgar Rogers, who many believed was sent there for his rowdy behaviour and to get him away from all the impressionable Ensigns that got sent to better first posts. Some of the enlisted personnel were promoted to petty officers, but it was difficult to show much in the way of outstanding accomplishments when mundane tasks were all you had to work with.

With a quiet sigh, Jennifer turned to enter her office. It was looking like it would be another slow day, which would trickle away into infinity. Perhaps she could take another drink before she...

The chirp from sensor array halted her in her tracks. Suddenly, there was movement on the long range sensors. The staff couldn't believe it, looking as baffled as she felt. Hesitantly, Morwen checked the sensors again to make sure everything was working properly. Of course it was. Theirs could be the most well-maintained long range sensors in the galaxy, with their endless upkeep they had been performing. The rush of excitement with the anticipation of something new to do, and to be actually busy for once was twinged with the sudden dread of what could be approaching…

"What is it?" Jennifer asked, voice hoarse.

"A ship..." Of course it was. "Too early to say anything more," said Morwen.

"Orders, Jen?" said Masuda quietly, turning to face her, and Jennifer waited for a moment since she knew he was going to make a suggestion. He always did. "With the Theurgy and the Harbinger alert, we should contact Starfleet Command and ask for clearance to use of our cloaking systems. This is potentially a high-risk situation. Task Force Archeron was disabled, so our storage is at the risk of being compromised... not to mention our lives. Ives and Vasser have not shown any compunction about killing before."

"Fuck command," said Rogers with a curled lip, scarred face twisted by his grimace, "raise the cloak anyway. Not going to die because of protocol."

Jennifer was suddenly thrust into a hard decision, and she looked between the screens for an answer. If she were to break the treaty of Algeron, would she do it now and raise the chance of their survival, or would she do so after word from Starfleet Command - at least making her entry into the history books say that her order had been sanctioned. Then again, perhaps it wasn't one of the renegade ships. Was it not wiser to know for certain?

"Verify the identity of the ship first," she said, her voice gaining some strength. "We have both the Akira- and Theurgy-class signatures in our systems. Then, we alert Starfleet Command of contact with the defectors and request reinforcements, and to use our cloak. Perhaps its just a cargo ship heading for Starbase 84. We know too little at this point. We can wait another minute or two..."

Like kicking an anthill, the argument began, with various degrees of insubordination against her, and she had to lash back to keep them all in line.

- Written by Auctor Lucan, from Interregnum 03-04, DAY 04: Weapon Storage Raid

Crew

Commanding Officers

Command Crew

Non-Commissioned Crew

  • 20 Enlisted of varying rank, including: