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SS Peedy Thor/UFS Academy - 16th STF - The Empowered Ensign

SS Peedy Thor, NCC 122355, is a Watchtower Class Station. We are in orbit above Pinastri Prime, and we officially opened our doors for operation on 180301. The station is named after one of our more prominent members, the late Admiral Peedy Thor. We strive to continue his vision and drive to make the station a crowning jewel of UFS. Admiral Peedy Thor, Gone but Never Forgotten.

Roleplay Times: Thursdays 1:30pm SLT
Commanding Officer: Draco Dimanovic
Executive Officer: 3249Rowena Resident

Moderators: Kermie Mistwallow, Draco Dimanovic

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Cipher Rhode
UFS Civilian
UFS Civilian
Posts: 273
Joined: 070705.2027
Duty Post: Civilian
Ship/Station Posted: Unknown
Grid: Unknown
Has thanked: 24 times
Been thanked: 2 times
Contact:

191125.1757

Major Chris Rhode walked about the recovering grounds of UFS Academy. The smell of fresh sod being planted along with the clean, ocean-fueled winds of Pinastri filled the morning air. After being wounded during the battle to both liberate the Chief of Starfleet Operations, of whom is also his adopted brother, and to find a way to push back the resurgent and disavowed cabal of Imperial Romulan Tal' Shiar known as the Empty Crown, he was cleared for duty. However, the best that he could negotiate was Light Duty.

Yes, the wounds from being hit by plasmablasts would have killed him had it not been for his shields and body armor, as with many other cadets and insurgents had they gone in without protection. Some of those Cadets were now either an Ensign in Starfleet or a Second Lieutenant in the Marines. Those officers would keep a special place in Cipher's book as they earned their rank and commission in blood.

One of the regrets he carried with him was that he was not there to pin their new ranks to their uniforms, to give them their first salutes as officers. It was a choice between waiting to hear from sickbay on when he could be cleared, or call in a favor to get him made to take R & R leave, rest and recovery. During that R&R, he, in full dress uniform, visited the families of the Marines and Starfleet enlisted operators within the 16th Special Task Force that gave their lives to save as many as they could. He was cautious, however, as even with subspace communications, news of a loved one's passing travels slow.

Some families welcomed his sense of responsibility to tell them directly, in-person, and not through a view screen. Others, understandably, not so welcoming. The hardest part was telling the families of Cadets that their best and brightest were not coming home. Chris even knew that the fact that the fallen Cadets were given posthumous commissions were not even close to enough to bring them solace. However, there were a small number of families that asked if those responsible were brought to answer for taking away their loved one. Chris took the initiative to tell the brutal truth and say, "Yes, some of them by my hand, many by others. They paid with interest for what they did."

And now, today, Chris walked into the main Academy building, still under repair but bubbling with life. Some of the new Cadets, hearing his name, now have a chance to put a face and figure to it. As he walked along the path to Lecture Hall Two, the commotion started to grow silent, soon coming to a gentle hush. He stopped, turned around, and saw that all of the Cadets in the area were standing out of respect.

A Cadet stood forward and belted, "DETAIL, ATEN-HUT!" The cadet followed with another command. "DETAIL, PRESENT... ARMS!" Every single Cadet, both in uniform and out, off-duty and on, saluted him. Cipher snapped to attention and returned their salute.

Cipher dropped his hand, and the Corps of Cadets followed as well. Cipher then said, "As you were... WOLVERINES!"

The Cadet belted out in response, "PINASTRI'S WOLVERINES!"

The Cadets behind shouted in response, "HOOYAH!"

Cipher turned in an about-face, knowing the lecture that he was going to give was long overdue. He turned down a corridor, seeing an exocomp floating in the air and then turning quickly into the lecture hall. As Cipher walked through the door, he heard his Joint Force Deputy Officer-in-Charge command, "EYES UP!" The entire lecture hall, filled with not just cadets, but even NCOs or all rates, junior, and senior officers. Cipher saw Commander Rowena, trying to hide her grin, but giving herself away as the one that helped his XO set all of this up. Another Exocomp floats in the air, projecting his image onto two massive screens in the lecture hall that was being renovated but extended, just for this purpose.

"Thank you all, as you were," Cipher says as the hall began to take their seats.

Chris, dressed in his Class A, Olive Green-colored service uniform, lays down his Black, Special Operations beret with his gold leaf rank insignia of Major on the lecture table. He looked to the audience and began to speak. "Raise your hand if you, now, or maybe later, have considered applying to and going to Command Officer school." Chris watches as Cadets raise their hands. "Officers and NCOs in the hall, join in. Be honest, who's thought about Command Officer school?"

He watches as more people raised their hands. Chris notices as a newly commissioned Ensign in operations raised her hand. Chris points to her, and playfully says, "LIES! LIES AND SLANDER!" The hall erupts with laughter, but Chris waves the Ensign to his side. "Now, of course, I kid because I care. But this young officer is Ensign Kai Hope, an Operations Officer soon to be heading to the USS Sheperd. I have had the honor of fighting alongside her during the insurgency. She has honestly saved my life more than I can count.

"But on top of that, even as a Cadet, she had led other Cadets and civilians that are now Agents with the FCIS in saving as many lives as possible, and holding the group together when times got tough. As a Cadet, she has exercised more command-level decisions, especially under enemy fire, that would make the average starship Captain become caught in analysis paralysis. She, along with Dr. Chedy Artis and Tiger Silverfall of the Starbase Peedy Thor has reflected great credit upon their class, and honor their memory. For that, I thank you all so much."

"Hooyah, sir," Kai says to him.

"Hooyah."

"HOOYAH!" the hall says as well as Kai takes her seat.

"Now, those of you that raised your hands, considering going to Command Officer School, I'm going to give you some bad news. If you think that whatever your assign is or will be as an officer is insignificant because you're not part of the big seven or eight on the bridge, then not only are you not ready for command school, but you are not ready to be an officer."

He allowed the commotion to start up again, the audience confused at his stinging criticism. "Yeah, that's right, I said it. Want to know why? Because the moment your soul is branded with that rank or rate, you have a responsibility to command and manage whatever is put under your charge."

The commotion died down, return all eyes to him. "If I may use myself as a prime example. For those that know me and know me well, you know where I'm going. For those that do not, I'll break it down for you. I JUST graduated from the Academy with my Associate's Degree. But, I've been a Commissioned Officer for the last year and a half and was an enlisted grunt for 11 years before that. My last billet while enlisted was being the Sergeant Major of the United Federation Starfleet Marine Corps. What that means is, I've been around the block for a while, let some bodies hit the floor, I still know where all the bodies are buried, AND I still have the shovel!"

The audience erupted in laughter but soon quieted down, seeing how serious he was. "That Black Beret you see on the desk here, that is to the Special Operations Division. Yours truly was the Chief of Staff of the SOD, when I was a Buck Sergeant. Mind you, when you hear Chief of Staff of whatever, you think it was some officer that kissed enough behind to get a safe desk job.

"WHELP, wish I had known what the job was before I used my office as a sniper hide and neutralized a Griever."

Chris let the crowd laugh, thinking he was joking again, but they soon discovered, once again, it was no joke as some of the officers that know him remind themselves how awesome that moment was.

"Even before the office gig, titles, all that bullshit, I was a Marine, first and foremost. Being that, every Marine is a Rifleman first. As a Sergeant, I was a Rifle Team Leader, responsible for 3 Squads of four Marines each." Behind Chris was a screen that began to show how the unit was organized. "Each of those Marines is employed with a different weapon system for their specific role in the battlespace. My job as the Squad Leader is to ensure that my fire teams are supplied with the tools, resources, and ability to carry out their duty."

Cipher zooms the display out. "Now, of course, I'm sure all of you have a grasp of what the Marines do. But, you're going to be Ensigns. You're going to be officers. How the hell are you important when you're not on the bridge or in the C-I-C somewhere? That is a great question."

Chris switches the screen to an Oberth-class starship in orbit of an unnamed planet. "Your ship, let's call it, the USS Prodigy, receives a distress call to this planet where it just so happens to have a Federation settlement there, they get along with the Natives there swimmingly, but they all got hit with a natural disaster. Now, being that you're the closest ship, you gotta respond. With the small crew complement, guess what Buttercup, YOU get to play Red Shirt and lead the away team."

Cipher plays the animation on the screen of three shuttles leaving the Oberth. "With this natural disaster, it has disrupted the atmosphere to where using transporters is not possible. So, shuttles :shuttle: would have to be the way to go."

The screen continues to the shuttles landing near the colony. The teams come out of the shuttles and begin staging their relief areas. Within the same area, the screen zooms over to a group of Natives close to rioting with the Federation colonists. Then the screen moves to another city, where it seems local insurgents are looking to attack the staging area.

"Now Ensign, you're on the ground, leading the relief efforts with your fellow crewmen on an away mission. You have four of your Crewmen handing out relief supplies and providing medical attention for those that need it. Hence, this is your humanitarian mission. Easy, right?" The screen then pans to another holographic image of security NCOs trying to hold people back from rioting and fighting. "You also have your designated security crew trying to keep people from having a battle royale in the streets. This is your peacekeeping mission. You're going to start thinking that you may need to call for your senior officer or XO to come down and take over. BUT..."

The viewscreen shifts again to the view of a small group of enemies with various weapons and other nefarious devices, setting up to attack the landing zone. "You have Opposing Forces, or OPFOR, looking to wreck everything you and your crew are trying to do. And kids, ain't no time to negotiate with them. They're coming, and they are going to attack anyone that isn't them, and they are not afraid to die."

Cipher looks directly to the first two rows of cadets. "If you think that the time is now to call the ship for backup? You just wasted five seconds that you could have used to get into defensive positions to engage the enemy. Questions."

A Cadet raised their hand, Cipher points to them. "Cadet, what say you, sir?"

The Cadet stands and asks, "Major, what are the qualifications of the Ensign leading that mission?"

"Great question, but the answer to that is specifically, irrelevant. You are an Officer of the Line. You are expected to assume responsibility of anything and everything around you, even up to and including assuming actual command of a ship or starbase if need be. Now Cadet, don't beat yourself up. This is a time to learn, not a time of humiliation. Any other questions?"

A female Cadet raised her hand, Cipher soon recognized her. "Sir, what would be the rules of engagement?"

Cipher shook his pointed finger in appreciation. "Another great question. The United Federation of Planets Rules of Engagement state that we do not fire unless we are fired upon first, or if there is a direct, confirmed threat of harm to civilian life. And if you pull that trigger or give the order to fire, you better make darn sure you don't miss. Next question."

A third Cadet was recognized, "Sir, could they beam..."

Cipher perked up, ready to scold the cadet for not paying attention.

"I mean," the Cadet continued, "send down another shuttle with reinforcements?"

Cipher grinned at the Cadet. "Good recovery Cadet, and, yes, they could, but, let's play out that specific scenario." Cipher then fast-forwarded to the scenario that the third Cadet asked. As the shuttles with reinforcements landed, 20 minutes after the call for help, the entire landing site was nothing but death and destruction of the civilians and Starfleet crew on the ground. "Twenty minutes after that call for reinforcements with more armed crewmen, everyone on the ground is already dead or dying, by enemy fire, or by improvised explosive devices carried by suicide bombers within two minutes of initial enemy contact."

The entire hall went beyond silent, being reminded of the grim reality they just faced and what may happen again, and again. "Cadets, this is what you will also face in your time serving the Federation. You may go from helping hand, referee, to soldier in a matter of two minutes, maybe less. Sometimes help may not be coming right away, whether by transporter or by shuttle. These next few weeks, upon approval of the Powers That Be, you will become an Empowered Ensign by the time you graduate. And while you were all in here, my Marines and Crewmen in the 16th Special Task Force, with the assistance of Academy Staff, have placed all the equipment that you will need for this new phase of your time here at the Academy. You all heard of the Red Squad back at Starfleet Academy - San Francisco? By the time you're done here, they will have no choice but to look at you and call you, sir."

Cipher folded his hands behind his back and looked to the crowd. "Alright Wolverines, let's get evil."

-END-

**NOTE: Special thanks to Esn. Kai Hope (Samsyfurwolf Resident), MAJ Kiara1 Noel, and LCDR Rowena Luna Vandread-Rose (3249rowena resident) for their cameo appearances. No mischaracterization nor slander is intended.**
LtCol Christopher "Cipher" Rhode, UFSMC-Retired
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
ARMOR Holdings Corp.

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