The mainstay unit of the Vanguard Command is Task Force Invincible. It is the largest permanent task force formation in all of Starfleet and is commanded by the best starship commander of his time, Rear admiral (upper grade) Jean-Luc Picard. He is ably seconded by some of the very best and brightest starship captains and starship officers ever gathered under one unit.
History and FormationEdit
When Vanguard Command was to be formed, Fleet admiral Maximus Hunter was in a dilemma on who should lead and man what was intended to become the foremost task force of the Vanguard Fleet, Task Force Invincible. Only one name came to mind when it came to abilities, experience and savvy – Jean-Luc Picard. But Picard was at that time most contented and already quite busy as commanding officer of the USS Enterprise-E and its small battle group. Hunter knew that it would be next to impossible to pry Picard out of the Enterprise-E. For all intents and purposes, there was no need at all for Picard to relinquish such a prestigious and fulfilling post.
So Hunter devised a plan that would somehow make Picard think twice about rejecting the offer of commanding Task Force Invincible and the USS Invincible herself. Since Task Force Enterprise had been placed under Vanguard Command as its exploratory unit, Hunter gave all the crews of the task force a one-month shore leave on Station Frontier, with the exception of Picard and a few of his senior officers and staff who had already been eyed for transfer to the Invincible with him. On the pretext that Task Force Invincible urgently needed a thirty-day shakedown cruise as a unit, Hunter assigned this responsibility to Picard. And Picard was indeed overwhelmed by what he had initially seen.
Onboard as observers of the shakedown cruise were some of the most famous captains of Starfleet alive: Benjamin Sisko, James Kirk, William Riker, Elizabeth Shelby, Kathryn Janeway, Mackenzie Calhoun, Kira Nerys and other prospects for command positions in Vanguard Command.
Picard was exceedingly pleased to see that his USS Enterprise-E Executive officer, Commander Worf, was given command of the Akira-class Heavy Cruiser USS Bat’leth and that his chief engineer, Commander Geordi La Forge, was given command of the Intrepid-class Scout USS Challenger, both starships being part of the task force. Both Worf and La Forge had been given field promotions to the grade of Captain. He was likewise impressed by the collection of highly reputable officers of Starfleet who had been called in to comprise the shakedown crew of the USS Invincible. He was surprised that Captains Chakotay and Stareck and Lieutenant commander Tom Paris had each accepted downgrades to the positions of First Officer, second officer, and Conn officer, respectively. And he was also mildly shocked to see a permanently “powered-down” Mark McHenry returning to Starfleet and serving as his Navigation Officer.
Among Picard’s many amusing experiences with the task force was witnessing the readiness, efficiency and sense of humanity of each of the twenty-six Emergency Holographic Complement of the ship during drills. Taking a cue from the USS Voyager’s experience with the Mark-I EMH, and witnessing first hand the amazing growth of the late Commander Data under his leadership in the USS Enterprise-E, Picard gave the entire Emergency Holographic Complement regular rotations like any other crew member, with scheduled downtimes and power-downs.
With Master Chief Petty Officer Annika “Seven of Nine” Hansen onboard, Picard readily placed her in charge of the ship’s astrometrics lab, in addition to her regular bridge duties as a Mission Specialist. Hansen had previously enlisted in Starfleet after her tenure as an adviser to the Federation President and underwent a barrage of tests to quickly rise and gain the non-com rank of MCPO.
Hunter did not make the command offer to Picard outright during the shakedown cruise. Instead, on the third week of that cruise, the task force was made to utilize the quantum slipstream drive to travel through the terminus of the Beta Quadrant and perform a quick reconnaissance well inside the Delta Quadrant. He had recently received intelligence reports that the Borg had merged with roque factions of the Founders and the Hirogen and have been amassing a large fleet as its first wave, with plans to send it on its way towards the Alpha Quadrant in a few months. Hunter had anticipated that Picard would come face to face with this new threat and would be forced to make a critical decision when the offer to command the task force was given.
It was at this point when Hunter formally offered permanent command of the task force to Picard, highlighting the fact that the USS Enterprise-E and own its task force cannot stand a chance against this new threat and that there was no one else of his caliber that Starfleet could give command of Task Force Invincible to without risking the destruction of the Federation.
Understanding the wisdom of Hunter's words, Picard accepted the offer. To keep the tradition alive, the USS Enterprise-E was designated as Hunter’s flagship in Vanguard Command, in concurrent capacity as Starfleet’s peace-time flagship.
Picard was promptly promoted to the rank of Rear admiral (upper grade), while Worf and Geordi La Forge were given permanent promotions to the rank of Captain. Captain Beverly Crusher was likewise given command of the Hope-class Medical Cruiser USS Provider, but on a detached basis, as she assumed the post of chief medical officer of the USS Invincible. Commander Lance McCoy, a grand nephew of Admiral Leonard McCoy, being executive officer of the Provider, would command when Crusher is off-board. Captain Morgan Bateson and the Sovereign-class Battleship USS Atlas were the last additions to Task Force Invincible. Picard was humbled by the fact that Captain Bateson wished his ship to be attached to the task force.
Task Force ComplementEdit
Task Force Invincible is composed of sixty-eight (68) combat-oriented Federation starships:
- One (1) Invincible-class Fleet Carrier-Heavy Battleship, the USS Invincible
- Two (2) Sovereign-class Battleships, the USS Atlas and the USS Hercules
- Two (2) Galaxy-class Battleships, the USS Excalibur-A and the USS Mjolnir
- Four (4) Nebula-class Heavy Cruisers
- Four (4) Akira-class Heavy Cruisers, one of which is the USS Bat'leth
- Six (6) Prometheus-class Tactical Assault Cruisers
- One (1) Intrepid-class Scout, the USS Challenger
- Eight (8) Norway-class Destroyers
- Ten (10) Steamrunner-class Light Cruisers
- Twenty (20) Saber-class Frigates
- Five (5) Defiant-class Escorts
- One (1) Hope-class Medical Cruiser
- Two (2) Nova-class Science Frigates
- Two (2) Ambassador III-class Supply Cruisers
Task Force Invincible has Station Frontier as its base of operations.
Task Force Invincible is regularly deployed out of Station Frontier for three-month missions to any point beyond the "Frontier" borders. After each three-month mission, it returns to base for at least two weeks to allow its crews time for shore leave and for needed repairs, resupplies, refits and upgrades to its complement of starships.
Although only the USS Invincible is the only starship in the task force with a quantum slipstream drive, because of the size of the slipstream tunnel produced by the flagship, the rest of the task force can travel with it at slipstream speed in tight formation.