Timeline: August 6th, 2391
Characters: Rear Admiral Richard Gates; Chief of Fleet Operations
Video log partially downloaded from USS Bordeaux, via Starbase 47 communications relays
The journey from Earth had been a long one. Just over a month ago, Gates had been a Commodore, tasked with coordinating single ships and small task groupings via their on-location commanders by Admirals further up the chain of command, not really holding any defined posting of his own to settle down and focus on for more than a few months at a time. It was an interesting job to be sure; being able to take a look at the bigger picture and make decisions and issue directives to those 'on the ground' that he might not have even thought necessary back when he was one of those starship captains, focussing only on the relatively small picture of the situation his own ship and crew were faced with at that time. The added politics and increased sense of meaning even added to the spice of the new job for a while. But after 6 years of moving from one assigned mission to the next, Gates was more than happy to accept the offer from Vice Admiral Quinn to join her team in a position where he could have the time to really make a difference. And so the newly-promoted Rear Admiral had boarded a starship heading to Cestus III and hadn't looked back at Starfleet Headquarters on Earth for the entire journey to the Galactic South.
He stood on the bridge of the USS Bordeaux as the ship dropped out of warp in the Cestus star system, and watched as the viewscreen was filled with the activity one should expect of a Federation member world that also played host to the headquarters for one of Starfleet's numbered fleets. The 11th Fleet had only been reconstituted a little over five years previously - he remembered it being dismantled following the Dominion War due to the losses it had suffered defending Benzar - but it was a fleet with one of the largest patrol zones there was. With their headquarters on one of the more developed worlds in the region, the fleet had responsibility for everywhere from the Klingon and Gorn borders, right out along the Tholian border to Beta Renner, and south down past Betelgeuse. Many of the systems had gone for years or even decades without a regular visit from a Federation starship, and he knew that there were many more worlds still to be explored in the vast region that had been claimed as part of Federation territory. Much of it was distant enough from other powers in the quadrant that the claims had gone unchallenged for as long as a century, which further seemed to lead to a reluctance on Starfleet's behalf to regularly patrol those regions. As the new Chief of Fleet Operations, Gates would assume a position in the chain of command directly above the commanding officers of all the starships within the 11th Fleet, beneath Admiral Quinn herself and alongside the other Admirals which formed her Admiralty board.
"Beam me down to the primary command complex as soon as we are close enough," the Admiral instructed Captain Elston, who was sat in his chair at the centre of the bridge, as he made his way around to the turbolift hatch. He wanted to collect the case with his belongings in it - already packed - before heading to the transporter room.
---Starfleet Primary Command Complex, Cestus III---
The office Admiral Gates had been assigned to was enigmatically labelled CZ-34109/04. Even in his six years working in San Francisco, Gates had never gotten his head around the system that Starfleet's engineers and planners used for designating room and section numbers for planetary or station-side rooms. It had always seemed far simpler on starships; deck numbers from top to bottom, section numbers from front to back, and room numbers, moving in sequence through each section. He had the computer guide him to the office; apparently it was on the 34th floor of the primary tower in the complex, which perhaps explained part of the enigmatic coding system, but the door before his in the corridor was labelled CZ-34843/03, which made no sense. He was quite satisfied however to see that etched into the door panel, above the room label was his name in bold black letters; R.Adm Richard Gates. His office back on San Francisco certainly hadn't had his name imprinted on it, that was for sure.
The Admiral barely took a moment to examine his new work space before he settled himself down behind his desk, eager to get to work. The room was more than adequate enough; it had floor-to-ceiling glass panels looking out onto Pike City, with the front courtyard of the building directly below. His desk was larger than the one he had on Earth, with a large embedded configurable keyspace area nearest to his chair, in addition to the standard mobile computer terminal sat on top of it. He had a large wall screen directly behind him, as well as an even larger one directly in front, which was configured to display the entire patrol zone, with tags showing the reported positions of each of the starships under his command. The desk had two guest chairs in front of it, and there was a couch and pair of arm chairs around a coffee table off in the corner for more casual meetings.
Gates studied the wall graphic for a few moments, noting the starships that were furthest out. The USS Highlander was up near the Talarian and Cardassian borders, much further north than the fleet's defined operational zone usually extended, but it wasn't uncommon for ships to travel further out if they were the logical choice for the mission at hand. There were clusters of starships as to be expected around Cestus III, and Starbases 332 and 47. The Tomcat was out in the Mira sector, and the Praxis - Gates paused for a moment to reflect of the particular relevance of the starship's name to its last assignment - was returning from an assignment to the Klingon world of M'Char. Satisfied with the overview the screen gave him of the fleet's movements, he activated his terminal, and began working through the long list of communiques and memos which had been building up waiting for his arrival.