"92,143 dead." Commander Burgess looked about the small conference theatre as he repeated the number for the third time.
"But a drop in the bucket compared to the lives the Hobus supernova claimed. A loss of life that we were prepared to save until suddenly... we weren't." The room was thick with discomfort. Some of the officers in the room had been children, or not even born yet when the Synth attack on Mars occurred some 26 years prior.
"A butterfly effect, if you will." Burgess pivoted. "Pure coincidence? Or the cornerstone of a grand strategy?" He looked about the room. A freshfaced lieutenant raised his hand. Burgess acknowledged him.
"Commander, I believe it was a grand strategy. The Synth attack was orchestrated by a Romulan covert operations branch; its primary goals were to stall or outright eliminate research of synthetic lifeforms by the Federation in addition to crippling the Starship manufacturing yards at Utopia Planitia."
Burgess nodded, then responded, "But at the cost of countless millions of Romulan lives?"
The lieutenant seemed less sure of himself. A Vulcan commander raised her hand. Burgess called upon her. "Commander N'mor?"
The Vulcan stood, addressing the young lieutenant. "Lieutenant Castillo's assessment is factually correct, but flawed in its logic. The Zhat Vash regarded the destruction of the relief vessels being prepared to evacuate their own citizens from the Hobus cluster as acceptable losses given their primary goal. The lieutenant's assessment, however, of the crippling of the Utopia Planitia shipyards is incorrect. Delaying or outright abandoning of all research into the development of synthetic lifeforms was their only goal. All other ramifications of their actions were deigned acceptable as they did not impede that primary goal. My assessment, thus, is that the correlation between the loss of life on Mars from the Synth attack, and the subsequent loss of life in the Hobus supernova is, as you put it, a 'butterfly effect'. Not unanticipated, the Romulans are too precise for that, but not the design of a grand strategy either."
Burgess nodded and Commander N'mor once again sat. Lieutenant Castillo's face was a mix of discomfort, embarassment, and sadness. The very emotions felt by the whole of the Federation on April 5th, 2385.
"Thank you Commander, Lieutenant. A succinct analysis of the incident that sadly took nearly 15 years for the Federation to suss out. Why so long? Because we were blinded by emotion, confused by logic, and reacting rather than acting. To put a finer point on it - We forgot our history."
Burgess continued, "The combined cultures of the Federation all have sordid pasts, chockful of any number of cautionary tales that would have fit this precise narrative." He pounded a fist onto the podium in front of him, not out of anger, but to make a sound other than his voice that better represented this last point; frustration and shame.
"We knew better. We knew better and yet... we still failed ourselves and each other." He shook his head and looked about the room. "We still know better, and that means we can do better." He turned to the display behind him which now filled with charts and images of Mars and the orbital shipyards over Utopia Planitia, circa 2385.
"To this end, Starfleet has tasked me with running this simulation of the Synth attack on Mars. I will not mince words here. This is not a battle you can win. But it's not a battle you must lose either. The goal of this training is to give you a critical piece of history to carry with you in your heart, rather than just as a number in your mind. Maybe then, when the next tragedy strikes, our grand strategy will be up to the task of countering the waves of the butterfly effect from doing more damage." Burgess gave an uncommon smile to the assembled officers.
"Your task force assignments will be issued upon arrival to your holodecks. You are dismissed."
Starfleet is conducting training simulations of the infamous Synth attack on Mars in the hopes that history will never be forgotten nor that terrible day repeated. As part of the continuing training programs of the Khitomer Alliance, they have opened this simulation to Klingon, Romulan Republic, and Jem’Hadar Captains as well. Very soon, you’ll be able to join the Task Force Operation. to make the best of a tragic moment in history. by standing strong against the "Synth Wave". “Synth Wave” challenges you to stand against adversity no matter the odds and to never, ever, forget the lessons of history.