The USS Merrimack is a vessel currently assigned to Task Force 72 within the Fourth Fleet.
Being an Excelsior Class Refit starship, it has a rich history within the fleet. The Merrimack, under the firm command of Captain Nithumen Browsden first and Captain Ashrak Kolrami later, has been a leading ship within the Gavarian Corridor acting as a diplomatic envoy and, when necessary, a patrol ship, managing to keep the volatile peace within the highly contested area of space known as the Gavarian Frontier.
History of the Merrimack
A Golden Beginning
The USS Merrimack was originally constructed at Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards, Mars, in January of 2298 under the registry NCC–4087 as one of the newly upgraded Excelsior class refit (Enterprise-B subtype) starships. The Merrimack underwent a nine month shakedown cruise before returning to Utopia Planitia to officially receive its plaque and full crew compliment.
Between its official commissioning in late 2298 and 2315, the USS Merrimack had participated mostly in border patrol operations and deep space exploration missions. Operations of note include a stand off between the Merrimack and two Klingon D-7 cruisers near Donatu system along the Neutral Zone in 2303. Then Captain Fera Dosin, a Tellarite Captain known for his hot-headed nature towards the Klingon’s managed to fight the two off until help arrived in the form of the USS Saratoga, a then Miranda-class refit. This was the first time the Merrimack had been involved in a semi-major engagement with the Klingon’s which the Federation and the Klingon Empire sanctioned as a skirmish, not an act of war.
The second operation of mention happened four years later in 2307. The Merrimack had been exploring near the new Galen Colony when it came in contact with a previously unknown alien ship. Though one would assume it was Talarian based on Galen’s proximity to their borders, it was actually a Tzenkethi raider on a long-range patrol mission. It was learned that the raider was on the look out for Talarian activity when it came across the Merrimack. The crew of the Merrimack proceeded to be attacked by the previously unknown species, and this was one of a few first contact experiences with the Tzenkethi. The Merrimack was generally unscathed before the Raider fled, but they logged their experience and returned to the nearest starbase.
The Merrimack went on to serve well into the mid 24th century, participating in the Tzenkethi and Cardassian conflicts and even serving well after the USS Crazy Horse, the last of the Excelsior class refit (Enterprise-B subtype) was built. It served until 2361, when it was decommissioned by Starfleet Engineering as they began their planning phase for the second type of Excelsior-refit.
Back In Action
In 2367 the Merrimack, now without its original registry and only bearing its name, was dispatched with a crew of cadets and Academy staff to deal with the Borg threat. The Merrimack never made it into combat as the Borg ship was destroyed by the Enterprise-D before it could reach Earth.
The Battle of Wolf 359 only hastened Starfleet’s need to get the refits underway. At the time they felt that the Excelsior’s were still valuable enough to refit. As tensions with the Dominion began to escalate and the Borg threat became all too real, the first of the refits were finished. In 2372 the Lakota had completed its refit, along with the USS Merrimack, Crazy Horse, Melbourne, Valley Forge, Okinawa, and the Malinche. Other Excelsior classes would quickly follow within the next couple months, but those were the first out of dock.
The Dominion War
The USS Merrimack was given a new registry, NCC-68744, and its plaque was updated to suit. The Merrimack was also given a new crew and was assigned to the Ninth Fleet at the start of the Dominion War.
Throughout the Dominion War, the Merrimack participated in some of the major operations, though not all. As a part of the Ninth Fleet the Merrimack participated in Operation Return and the First Battle of Chin'Toka. However, after the First Battle for Chin’Toka the Merrimack was assigned to the 3rd Fleet. The 3rd fleet, along with elements from the revered 1st Fleet (the Fleet that usually defended the core systems) held off slowly advancing Dominion Force. Elements of the 3rd Fleet engaged a Dominion force at Ricktor Prime, but were totally destroyed. However, the Merrimack participated in an operation meant to draw Dominion attention near Betazed and Ricktor Prime that distracted Dominion Command.
Elements of the 3rd Fleet attacked Dominion positions near these systems while the 10th Fleet retook Betazed. The 3rd Fleet then lay siege Ricktor Prime a couple months later while Captain Benjamin Sisko and Admiral William Ross led the final push to Cardassia Prime.
The 3rd Fleet defeated, in essence, the Dominion force guarding Ricktor Prime and surrounding systems as they retreated under orders to Cardassia Prime. However, a joint Federation-Klingon Task Force, including the USS Merrimack, gave chase and hunted down the remaining Dominion starships. They never made it to Cardassia Prime.
After the Dominion War, the Merrimack was assigned to a joint Federation-wide Task Force that rendered aid to a battered Cardassian Union who, under civilian leadership, asked for Federation assistance. It was granted, and until 2377 the Merrimack was a diplomatic ferry and patrol ship for the Cardassian core systems. It was then that the Cardassian’s began to fend for themselves and the Merrimack was called away for other assignments.
The USS Merrimack turned its attention toward the Gorn conflict involving the 4th Fleet. Though the Merrimack was not directly involved, she did patrol the nearby Romulan neutral zone near the area of the Fourth Fleet’s Task Force 86, making sure the Romulan’s did not try to take advantage of the situation. However the Gorn conflict ended and the Merrimack was dispatched to DS9 for re-assignment.
In 2382, the Merrimack was re-staffed and under a new crew was assigned to patrol the Cardassian border headed toward the Breen. As of late the Cardassians had rebuilt a sizable force and the Breen were beginning to become more active with their fleet movements, so the Merrimack was one of a group of ships assigned to keep watch. A notable operation in 2383 led to the Merrimack garnering a name for itself in the region as they saved an outlying Cardassian colony that had been wrought with severe seismic activity – in essence, large super-quakes were quickly re-shaping the surface. Though the Federation and some Cardassian officials looked positively on the situation, the Merrimack made a negative name within the Union as it was said it had caused the quakes and it was a Federation ploy to retake lost territory. However the Federation praised the Merrimack and it continued operations for another three years.
After three more years of service, the Merrimack docked at Deep Space 12 for possible re-assignment. It was up in the air whether or not the ship would still actively serve within Starfleet. However, Captain Nithumen Browsden had been re-assigned from her old command, the Miranda class USS Alexandria and was due, so she thought, for retirement. However under command of then Bravo Fleet Commanding Officer Teylas Ramar, Nithumen was ordered for re-assignment as Commanding Officer of the USS Merrimack. The reasoning behind this is because, along with five other ships, the Merrimack is assigned to patrol and, if need be, defend the deep space research facility on Anticulo IV in the Gavarian Frontier. It was a 3 month trip, but it had to be done. On the side, for classified reasons, they were also going to rescue Nithumen’s previous command, the shrouded USS Alexandria.
With a skeleton crew and a mood that reflected her negative feelings about this, she reluctantly accepted the forced command and departed Deep Space 12 within a few days. About a month and a half into their travels, the Merrimack was hit with an Electro-Magnetic Pulse. They were caught off guard and the nearest known system was the Il’Trian system. The crew desperately and eventually managed to re-activate the Merrimack just as two Cardassian Galor’s were bearing down on the Merrimack’s position. The Merrimack, though damaged, managed to engage and put the two Galor’s out of commission. They then proceeded to launch and investigation of the area, suspecting that they were getting close to finding the Alexandria if they were attacked on such a level.
As they had suspected, the Merrimack scanned and found a large base located on Il’Trian III. An away team beamed down to the surface to retrieve the computer core of the Alexandria for Top Secret reasons. Down to the limit as the Cardassian ships managed to repair themselves enough to give chase to the Merrimack, the away team took the Alexandria and literally pushed their way out of the Cardassian Base and, before the weakened Miranda class burned up in the atmosphere, the away team and the computer core were beamed aboard. The Merrimack then managed to escape the weakened Cardassian Galor’s who had lost their warp engines, and they continued on their way to Anticulo IV.
During their travels, the Merrimack came across a Romulan shuttlecraft. A Vreenak class that was about the size of a Federation Danube-runabout, it held only one life form. The Romulan woman was beamed over. The crew discovered she was a Romulan agent, a member of the Tal Shiar and she had been taken from her mission. She is now a permanent member of the Merrimack, though her intentions are as of yet unknown.
When the Merrimack reached Anticulo IV, they discovered a new, rather odd addition: Kepler Station, whom everyone believed was assigned to the Delta Quadrant, was in orbit around Anticulo IV. The discovery was short lived, however, as the Merrimack was assigned to patrol the system while Kepler was slowly stocked with whatever ships in the area could offer.
During their patrol of the Anticulo system, the Merrimack, along with all the other Federation ships in the region, received word of an outlying Cardassian colony going through a revolution. The civilian leaders were asking the Federation for help, however Federation officials were denying this request. Some sympathizers within the Starfleet presence tried to rebel, and it was very apparent aboard the Merrimack. A small though heavily armed group of rebels took a Cargo Bay and a few hostages. The crew of the Merrimack managed to retrieve the hostages and take most of the rebels captured, though a few were killed in the fighting. The crew discovered that the rebellion and the revolution was orchestrated by the Tal Shiar, and so they did not pay it any more mind unless it would begin to escalate.
The Merrimack has begun to make a name for itself within the 4th Fleet’s newest Area of Operations as it is assigned to the Gavarian Corridor and Frontier as an old bird with an old Captain, but still with sharp teeth and wits about her.
Change At The Top
In 2386, the Merrimack's Commanding Officer, Nithumen Browsden, found herself called up to higher duties to serve at 4th Fleet Command forcing a change in the top position aboard the ship. Her position was taken up by a promising Zakdorn Officer, Ashrak Kolrami who settled down to carry forward the legacy of the Merrimack in the ranks of Task Force 72's Task Group Centauri.
After refit and repair at Deep Space Ten, the Merrimack sailed for redeployment. Along the way, several malfunctions caused minor concern for the ship's shakedown cruise. Steering for the nearest shore for more repairs, the crew of the Merrimack found the outpost Sabik Station in complete power loss. With the outpost's life support failing, the crew of the Merrimack quickly renders aid and helps restore the station to working order.
After stopping for resupply and final diagnostic in Sol Sector, the Merrimack makes for Starbase 80, known colloquially as Redemption. Stumbling upon the active combat zone of a Breen Raid the Excelsior-refit joins the fray, lending anti-fighter support against the swarms of Breen Fighters. Combined with the attending ships of Starbase 80, the Federation forces succeed in beating back the attack, but with great loss. Many Federation crew members have been captured. Commodore West puts plans in motion to bring his people back.
The Merrimack sailed for the Ferengi Borderlands and looked to do trade in the outlaw merchant hub known as Boyar's Den. Starfleet Intelligence pulls some strings and midway through the visit, trade now became an extraction mission. Mayhem ensued, both Away Teams met conflict on the lawless land of thieves, hoodlum, and vagbonds, causing Commander Ashrak pull the Merrimack out of system with only a fugitive from Federation justice as a consolation prize.
Finding that Starbase Redemption is under a new commander and the entire task group in upheaval, Ashrak Kolrami is promoted to Captain and made commander of Task Group Alpha. The Merrimack's first mission as the Task Group's flagship is to escort a flotilla of cargo freighters to the Delphine Cluster, aided only by a handful of frigates. The Bad News: the convoy must pass through a large tract of Breen-patrolled space.