With drinks in hand, Lieutenant Castrux strolled over to one of the many tables that adorn ten-forward. Patiently, Lt. Mudd awaits to give her retrospective on the recent ill fated simulation. Salvador hands Joy her water, and precedes to sit down with his ice tea.
Joy smiled, but the smile didn't reach her eyes. "Do you want me to be gentle, or are you chasing after a big chair some day?"
Castrux was less restrained. "Well Joy, I think I'd like to be a captain someday."
"That's human enough. Me, I'm worried. They keep promoting me?" The alarm in Joy's voice was serious at this prospect. "But this is my second time around in these drills. My role seems to be to cry that all is lost about when we lose our warp core while the opposition is fully operational."
Sal nodded. "The problem was that if we didn't let the marines kill something we'll have another incident like what happen to Case. As for in the sim, we had to get troops down on the planet and protect the colony or lose thousands more."
"Yes. With the 'Klingon warriors' among the women and children, it would be hard to justify keeping the marines inactive." Joy's eyes were sad, almost pained. "This really bothers me. I am directed to prevent deaths, and yet in these exercises, death seems so inevitable. I am programmed to stop it, battle and death. And yet, how?"
"Yes, If I would of tried to use diplomacy we would of died right there, but in the real battle diplomacy works."
"And I'm not sure of physical sim accuracy, either. Transport range is 40,000 Km. Phaser range is 300,000 Km. Why should a Klingon come close enough to a ship with a badly damaged warp core to get hit by the ejected core? What are the odds at these ranges that a piece of debris large enough to get through shields will hit another ship? You didn't lose the ship due to poor command decision. Maybe the battle, but not the ship."
"If I remember Klingon, they'll never come any where closer than 5,000 Km when a ship is going to blow up. Also a warp core explosion would leave very small pieces and none of them could go though the shields."
"I simply do not agree with how these drills are being run. Failure is punished by death, yet they give the CO and XO no preparation time as to guarantee failure, and they balance the objectives such as failure is the most likely result. I have heard Kobayashi Maru instructors are more interested in emotional reactions to failure than the decisions made during the drill? Yet I'm not sure everyone is making an emotional commitment to the training, to success."
"If I had a day to prepare I would of done a helluva a lot better than I did and if the crew knew that we wouldn't necessary die at the end of an hour they would have more commitment to the test."
"Certainly, people are not taking preservation of life seriously. Continuing to fight when you have lost your core but the opposition is intact is simply suicidal. Tricks like inserting messages into the opposition command structure and throwing debris at the enemy can work and can be useful, but one should not be betting lives on their success in the face of superior opposition."
"What I was hoping by throwing the core at them was to buy time so we could of evacuated the crew, but the lives of the crew and of the colonist were foremost at my mind."
"That makes me feel better. If evacuation was your next move, it was only the unlikely collision that ended the situation in death. A continued attempt to throw lives away would have bothered me. But enough. Let's look for 20 20 hindsight. The largest advantage a senior officer has over a younger is that the elder has had opportunity to have made more mistakes, which is helpful if you avoid repeating the same ones."
Joy tried a smile, but it did not hide her concern or unhappiness. "One opportunity. You were the only ship present when we first got there. The battle on the surface was with small arms only. Hawking's main phaser banks set to wide beam stun could have been decisive. Given the same scenario, how would you exploit it?"
"I did not fire on the planet, since the colonists were mixed with the Klingon troops, but now that I look back at it I should of fired and took the Hawking to a more defensive location."
"One classic problem. You need to take down shields to beam down marines. With ships in range or the possibility of cloaked ships in the area, this is extremely hazardous. Assume that the battle on the surface was a trap to trick you into dropping shields. Assume that what happened to Hawking was not an accident, but an ambush. What precautions must you take to prevent it from happening again?"
"Using the ship's phaser on stun I would of knocked out the Klingon troops and tried to help the Cardassians as much as possible."
"'Get there firstest with the mostest' is still a basic principle of warfare. There are reasons to delay getting everything you have to the point of attack. You do need a reserve. If delaying will get you more forces, then arriving in a mass rather than in small units is desirable. With 20 20 hindsight, how could you have deployed to greater effect?"
"When I issued a order for an away team, I believed that the whole Marine division would land. When I leaned that our full force was not down upon planet, I tried to send in more troops, but we were too late. If I were to do it again, I'd send all the 'leather necks' down sooner."
"Good. Beaming down the full force early before the enemy fleet elements returned, then defending without a need to drop shields *might* have worked. Guess we'll never know. Learning to delegate might be another lesson. You had a ground action, a space action, and diplomacy to be conducted. Command doesn't mean controlling every part of the action. It sometimes means delegating problems to subordinates, then getting them the resources needed to solve the problems you assigned. Given another shot at this, how could you have delegated responsibility better?"
"I took to much control, what I should of done was to give the different departments more freedom."
Joy nodded. "You committed to use of force rather quickly. With Klingon infantry among the women and children and shooting, I have no problem with that. The Book might say you should have tried harder to find a non-violent solution. On the other hand, negotiating with Bravo's idea of how Klingons behave might be rather futile. Would you do anything differently with regards to use of negotiations as opposed to force?"
"I'd try more negotiating with the Marquis and try to get more ships from the Cardassians, but the thing is I couldn't do negotiations with the Klingons since on these sims they don't give you that option."
"Some one of these days Bravo is going to mess us up, throw us a Rules of Engagement test, rather than a Kobayashi Maru variant." Joy's voice tone shifted slightly, sounding much like a priestess speaking holy writ. "Do not use force until all other methods have been excluded. Be the peacemaker and mediator, not the aggressor. Do not be the first to use force."
Castrux simply nodded. He had heard the words before.
Joy's smile at his expression finally reached her eyes. "It's hard to say we did well, but if the objective was really to learn, we have done that." She raised her water in salute to Captain Castrux. "Until next time!"