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Safe Harbor at Hypatia

Posted on Wed Feb 28th, 2024 @ 6:40pm by Captain Samuel Woolheater

Mission: MISSION 0 - History Speaks
2293 words - 4.6 OF Standard Post Measure



Just beyond the orbit of the gas giant Profundis, a class “J” planet or enormous magnitude, just out of reach of the moons and small ringed dwarf planets, at the edge of the Fontalan solar system lay the planetary platform of Hypatia. For many thousands of years, astronomers theorized that there had to be another planet at the edge of the celestial system; they just hadn’t found it yet.

Then, in 2525 of the first age, an astronomer, mathematician, and scholar, Hypatia, accurately calculated the gravity distortions that demonstrated there had to be something there. The planet Profundis and the small moons were being pulled, ever so slightly, away from the orbit of the much larger gas giant. But because Hypatia was a rocky world, about the size of Luna, it was extremely difficult to spot. Hypatia was forgotten and her discovery lay forgotten for three-hundred years until a telescope powerful enough to see that far into deep space vindicated her.

When Fontalis began exploring the solar system, the rogue planet was re-discovered and quite appropriately, the Scuola di Astronomia entered the planet into the catalogue and awarded the naming rights to this brilliant academician.

Now, Hypatia has the unusual properties of a ruptured core and variable gravity. It was soon discovered that at a certain altitude, gravity was not only stable but quite like that of Fontalis. This LaGrange point between the surface of Hypatia and the lower atmosphere allowed the people to build a city that floated between the surface and the sky. At various points in history, it served as a fortress, a deep space Astrometrics lab, a prison, a neutral zone and finally what it is today, a garrison and depot. Even, some would say, safe harbor.

Even before Fontalis was admitted to the United Federation of Planets, as a protectorate of the Federation, the government of Fontalis requested military aid from Starfleet and the Federation. And that’s how it all started.

The Fontalan government requested that Starfleet and the Federation take over Administration and rehabilitation of the planetary platform at Hypatia. A planetary platform was this large floating city that was about at the equatorial region of the planet. It was a kind of natural “starbase” that had places for merchant ships to dock and drop off and pickup cargo before the left to cross the almost starless expanse of the Mare Tenebrae. The Sea of Darkness, On the other side was the beta quadrant and a straight shot to Romulus and the Klingon core worlds. And so, it began with the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). A document that the Federation used to provide Starfleet and UFP assistance to non-member worlds. The SOFA spelled out exactly what the Federation would provide and the conditions. It laid down the terms for what was called, “Host World Support” which detailed out what Fontalis was required to provide to the Federation in exchange for this protection.

And, after a time, it came to pass that various parties in the Federation, realized the potential for having a more…robust…prescence in that region of space. Hypatia was just far enough from the core worlds of the Federation, but not so far that one couldn’t get there in a day or two. It was just far enough to be out of sight and out of reach of prying eyes for all of the “do gooders” that infested the Federation. Universal Spacecraft Systems was one of the first large scale interested parties. This was of course before they made the shipyards at Hypatia. But, our primary area of interest was, of course, the arms and weapons makers. Everything from Vendetta Explosives, PhaserCo, Old Doc Marteen’s Famous Projectiles, K-Bar and Requia Torpedos found a home here on Hypatia.

There were other interesting parties too. But they were more…discreet. This was all allowed by the Status of Forces Agreement. And so for anyone who got it into their heads that something “illegal” was going on here, they were directed to the SOFA. Certain intelligences however, sought further legitimacy. And they created what is known as the “Outlying Regions Institute for Security Cooperation” or ORISC.

Established to help train and support non-Federation member worlds on military and special forces tactics, ORISC had all kinds of curriculum for the Intelligence Services and Special OPS missions. An example is the Irregular Gravity Jungle Operations Course which included in-field exercises. For example, a company of 103 students from Puuraa and 4 other Cropa worlds enrolled in the Jungle Operations Course, SFMC – Joint Forces and Special Command, Hypatia Planetary Platform, Fontalis, recently completed a nine-day tactical exercise crossing the Isthmus of Hypatia, a ground distance of about 55 miles (88.5km), through jungle, irregular gravity, toxic fumes, swamp, and water. Symbolically following in the footsteps of the first explorers from Fontalis explorers 300 years ago, the crossing began with an amphibious landing on the Prefatio side of the Isthmus. The exercise ended with the last student completing the trek by emptying a container of Prefatio Ocean Water into the Lagola Ocean. The 9-day exercise emphasized jungle operations and tactics and techniques of combat in this environment. The Starfleet Marine Corps Jungle Operations Committee supervised and controlled the maneuver.

Officially, the SFMC controlled ORISC, “stewards” was the term they used. But it was not without controversy. ORISC was previously administered by Section 31. Certainly, that was not on any of the brochures. On stardate 47196.9, the school was expelled from Acheron under the terms of the Feldman Treaty. Prior to this expulsion, politicians and journalists on Acheron had complained that civilian graduates from the school engaged in repressive and antidemocratic behavior. Section 31 considered relocating the school to Porobius in unknown space, ultimately choosing Hypatia, where it re-opened as part of the SFMC Training and Doctrine Command. What is of primary importance is the phrase in the SOFA on page 113, section 8, paragraph one, “…the host world agrees to hold harmless and indemnify the United Federation of Planets, Starfleet Command, the Starfleet Marine Corps, Starfleet Security or any other entity that is in the interests of the United Federation of Planets from any damages or negligence. No charges are permitted to be brought against the Federation, its allies, or entities.”

It is that last phrase, the underlined portion, that gave rise to how Section 31 infiltrated what was to be simply a military outpost to defend a protectorate. To this end, Section 31’s part was obscured and allowed it to keep its hand hidden in these affairs.

Now, on stardate 67158.3, a twenty-year old marine sniper was on standby at Hypatia. His name is Samuel Woolheater. The sniper for his platoon of fifty-six Marines. By this time, Hypatia was safer harbor than it was anything else. And today, that safe harbor would be tested.


The serenity of the backdrop of stars and gas clouds in this area of space is shattered after a moment by the long haul freighter SS HOYA dropping out of warp. She is on fire and smoking as she steers towards protection and safety of Hypatia. A Yreka-class long-haul cruiser, she looks like a long cylinder tube. Bulging in the middle with a bridge and engine pods at the rear. She is venting drive plasma and smoke billows from a few of her cargo bays. Attached to her hull, like barnacles, are boarding craft. Two of them, a midships.

Following the HOYA out of warp is the mothership for the pirates. A cobbled together monstrosity that somehow can fly and attain warp. The pirates don’t want to damage the HOYA too much. It would be a hell of a lot easier to just dispatch with the crew and take the ship back to the asteroid field where it can be dismantled and sold for scrap. Not to mention her cargo.

The captain of the Hoya is dead. He died when the shield grid exploded. Now, it’s the second mate who is in charge. And he is panicked.

“Hello?! Anyone? Mayday, mayday, mayday…this is the SS HOYA. We are under attack. Is anyone at Hypatia listening? We are under attack and need help!”

As the distress call comes through, the ready team for the second platoon, Woolheater’s fire team, is on go alert. And they rapidly deploy to the Wallace-class USS Bruce. As the dispatcher for Hypatia gets the details of what is happening to the Hoya, she relays them to the bridge of the Bruce. Two fire teams, eight marines in total are deployed to the Bruce and a Starfleet Security Commander. The ship lifts off the pad three of Hypatia and leaves the atmosphere for space.

The CONN for Hypatia calls to the HOYA

=A= HOYA, USS Bruce is en route. ETA is two minutes. Boarding party of Marines and Starfleet Security =A=

The panicked second mate can hear the pirates cutting through the outer doors to the bridge. …hurry!...


The pirates looted the ship in record time. They knew exactly what they were after. After breaking into the bridge and blowing open the Captain’s safe, they recovered a complete set of Cardassian, unopened, unused, optilytic data rods. Twelve rods in total and a complete set. They shot the rest of the bridge crew. Then they damaged the navigation and the engines. With their prize in hand, they were just about to beam out.

A Starfleet security officer steps onto the bridge, “Going somewhere?”

To which the two pirates who gained access to the bridge opened fire. A firefight ensued on the bridge and the pirates managed to beam away. One of the boarding ships detached. The Bruce would make sure they didn’t get away.

The other three pirates were setting charges and fire to the bulk of the ship’s cargo. Raw, dilithium, unrefined ore. Transported like this, it was perfectly safe. Expose it to radiation or an extreme heat source…you had a bomb on your hands.

=A= Woolheater! Are you in position? Stop those pirates. We will try to regain control of the ship =A=

1st LT. Woolheater, along with four marines had the pirates in sight. The other four marines were searching the rest of the ship. Samuel responded as he looked through the scope of his rifle.

=A= Copy that Commander. I have them. =A=

Sam squeezed the trigger on his TR-116 rifle and did away with one of three. The remaining two now returned fire and did as much damage as they could on their way back to their boarding craft.

Chasing them down and trying to cut them off from their craft was proving very difficult. Suddenly, Sam’s comm beeped again, he tapped it, “Go”

It was the Commander’s voice on the bridge, “Lieutenant, the navigation is too damaged. We can’t steer the ship. We have a bigger problem, the bulk manifest is carrying…”

Sam finished the sentence for him, “…dilithium raw ore. Yes sir, I know. They are setting charges and setting it afire. We have to get out of here before the ore starts to burn and smoke.”

The Commander made the final call, “That’s it. We’re out of here. I can’t steer and I can’t shut down the engines. The ship is on a collision course with Hypatia. Get your team cack to the beam in point and the Bruce can use the tractor beam to push the freighter out of the way. Now Lieutenant. That is an order.”

Sam nodded as the two remaining pirates were captured and rapped on the head, “Commander calls it. We’re out of here.”

On the bridge of the freighter, carrying the bodies of the second mate and the freighter captain, the crew of the Bruce beam away. And Sam and the eight marines rescued the two Engineers and were beamed away back to the Bruce.


The Bruce comes alongside the full-impulse smoking missile that used to be a cargo ship. The tractor beam is reversed in its polarity as the Federation ship attempts to nudge the larger freighter onto a different trajectory. If they are not careful, they could put too much pressure and split the hull open and then have dilithium debris showering down on the Hypatia base.

Very slowly, they watch as ever so slightly, the nose of the HOYA starts to move to starboard. The beam continues to move the freighter away from the docking ring on Hypatia as they watch. Until, after too long a time, it is far enough to no longer be on a collision course.

After the freighter passes by the planetary platform, the Bruce is able to slow the freighter down after her engines die. The dilithium ore, now a total loss and a serious environmental hazard having vented raw dilithium into space, is towed by another vessel to a safe distance and stowed.

The mothership got away with twelve data rods – a fortune on the black market – but Starfleet had two pirates in custody. The deaths of the Captain and the second mate were serious charges. Now it was a matter for Starfleet Security. Or worse, the Intelligence division on Hypatia.


Captain Samuel Woolheater
“Saepius Exertus, Semper Fidelis, Frater Infinitas”
Division VI, MARDET 62nd Company "Spartans", 1st Platoon CO
=/\= USS ELYSIUM - NCC-89000 =/\=


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