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Planning Session

Posted on 19 Jun 2021 @ 11:39am by Captain Martin Collins & Commander Roscoe Mayhew & Lieutenant Talia sh'Ahrazad & Lieutenant Lynn Tayler & Senior Chief Petty Officer Alanna Morrison & Daniel Bishop & Kibyr & Syrial J'naii

Mission: Extraction
Location: Briefing Room
Timeline: August 1, 2280 || 1430 hours

With the Admiral out of the room, Marty turned to face those who remained behind in the room. "Liberate the Callisto. Rescue her crew. Two locations, several lightyears apart. The Callisto, I'm thinking, will be the easiest. A single boarding party should be able to get the ship out of the yard, assuming the fuel tanks aren't drained. The rest of the mission, that will be a challenge. Thoughts?"

"Completely agree, Captain," Lynn spoke up first. "And if the fuel tanks are drained on the Callisto, that'll make this just that much harder."

"Let's start with that, then," Marty said, turning to the Chief Engineer. "The Callisto is Nimitz class, a four-nacelle starship. Assuming the tanks are drained, how much fuel will be needed to generate enough power to get the ship back to Starfleet space?"

Tayler sat back in a moment of thought. "Assuming they are completely drained...given the location, we'd need to give them at least a quarter of their maximum fuel to get the systems going and to make it so they can get out of the area at a decent speed."

"How would we get it over there?" Collins asked. "Could it be transported? Or would we have to siphon it out of our own tanks to do that?"

"We could transport it, but it would take time. We can't transport fuel in large quantities, at least, I wouldn't trust it. It'd be faster to load it on a shuttle and take it over, safer to depending on whatever we run into. We wouldn't be able to afford siphoning it out of our tanks if we want to finish the mission." Lynn looked at the captain, "Well, I'm accounting for possible issues where we might need more fuel to avoid anything we come across that isn't friendly."

Marty considered the possibilities for a moment. "All we have to do is get the Callisto to the border. We get that done, we can have a tanker on standby to get it the rest of the way home. She is fitted for reconnaissance, so at least she's capable of avoiding some sensors. Though, I'm more concerned about getting fuel to the Callisto if needed. Sneaking into an impound yard is one thing. Both operating within and then getting out are entirely different."

"As long as we can get the fuel in there," Lynn stated, "It won't take long to get the ship going again."

"If retaking the Callisto is going to set off alarms for others, shouldn't we try to coordinate them to happen simultaneously?" Kibyr asked. "We could set out a couple shuttles with an away team in preparation for retaking the ship, but we wait until we're prepared to rescue the crew. This way, neither party has prior warning."

"Oh, coordinating will be essential," Marty agreed, turning his gaze to the Orion scientist. "But coordination won't do us any good if either of our teams are ill-equipped. Plus, we'll need to decide where exactly the Lexington needs to be, and when, in order for all of this to be pulled off."

The Captain sighed and leaned forward. "Which I guess this means we need to start talking about what's going to be needed to get forty people out of a Nausicaan depot. They certainly won't like us showing up on their front door, so in addition to getting people out, we're going to have to get people in."

"Well, the Admiral didn't bring me along for my good looks. The first question of getting out is how are we going in? Because if you're planning the quiet route, then you have to disable their security measures blocking beam-out and removal of...ahem...property. And do it without them knowing." Daniel said, "Loud? Well, bring enough firepower to take on a Klingon boarding party. And move fast because if you don't, they'll vaporize anything they think we have assigned value."

"Frankly, I prefer the quiet route," Marty stated. "We go in loud, and that ruins everything, just like you said. But going in quietly means we need to find a way in. I don't suppose you have any connections?"

"A couple. Smugglers mainly with this lot. Nausicans are too brute force so they employ a fair bit. I can supply the stick, but we're going to need a carrot to keep them from deciding turning on us at any point would be a bad idea." Daniel said.

"I agree with going in quiet," Tayler stated looking over, "But the Callisto could be set to trigger alarms the moment anyone steps foot on it, and who knows if we can detect them."

"And it could be rigged to blow up too. This isn't a time to get so paranoid you start thinking your enemy knows your every move. You might as well not even bother if you're going to think like that." Daniel said and leaned back, "And so what if they do? We got the Lexington just fine."

Alanna hated how out of place she felt at this meeting, she was a Corpsman, who recently began pretending to be a command chief. She was sure that some of the stuff she did was valuable and she knew that the Captain trusted her. She’d gotten to do some cool things in addition to being a corpsman like promoting the new Chief Engineer on behalf of the captain. With her new refocusing on her command duties she’d switched her corpsman uniform for a command uniform. She didn’t know if it would really highlight her role with anyone knowing for sure that she wasn’t not overly respected by at least two of the people sitting here at the table.

“Forgive my ignorance in these things… but how hard is it to wipe the security protocols completely from a ship?” she asked. “If we were to rescue the crew members first would we have an easier time getting the ship going again?” Alanna asked.

Mayhew, who had sat quietly as he contemplated the situation, fielded the question. "There are master overrides which we would use," he said. "If they captured the ship, the first thing they'd have to do is shut down the computer and lock out current users. Maybe our engineers could rig something, but I wouldn't count on it. Time constraints will mean using the overrides rather than use assigned codes or program new ones."

“Another question…” Alanna said. “How do we know that some of those people may not have been arriving at that depot under less than forced circumstances? Sure forty humans arrived… but we don’t know they’re all prisoners what if some of them are loyal to Aamaya?”

"We don't. Like the Admiral and Mayhew said, Aamaya could've sold them out not under duress and he could've cut others into it." Daniel replied, "Forty people and a Nimitz has a great price, but one person can't take them all alone. I'm sure he either conned his crew or had some of his people in on it for a cut and their freedom. Or at least some freedom. Hell, he could have lied to them too and they're all in a ditch with their throats cut. Fewer shares to pay out."

Mayhew didn't comment, but he did start nodding. So far he was tracking closest with Bishop.

"We plan for a jailbreak of forty people, and either we leave with a few missing or we get forty but not the ones we expected. Or if you're feeling particularly cold, leave 'em all and just get the ship. Have Starfleet give you a prize crew." Daniel shrugged, "Probably less than ideal, Aamaya might have secured the ship to save his own neck."

"I think as a doctor I'm obligated to ask you all to not leave the people behind." Syrial added, though their tone was more of a casual request than a selfless, good hearted ask.

"Maybe you can get your happy ass off the ship and do it yourself then," Mayhew said. "It's one thing to say something and another to do it. If the past 25 years haven't taught you that not everybody makes it, then I don't know what would."

"I'm pretty comfy on my 'happy ass'." Syrial responded with a shrug. Oh yes, the last twenty five years has taught Syrial what it was like to lose people. And frankly, they didn't care if the others were left behind or not. They had only spoken up as an obligation, in case anybody was keeping records of this and wanted to question their medical license. "I'll leave that decision up to the experts."

"Good." As far as Mayhew was concerned, he wasn't going to tell the alien how to run a trauma unit, so he was damned sure not going to take battlefield tips from it.

Marty frowned, thinking of the time Aamaya had sold out Collins' last command, the Chabon, while on a convoy escort mission. Resources were valuable to anyone, and especially more so when a party is desperate, or even drowning in poverty. The Chabon was expected to lose, taking severe damage while the convoy raided of its precious tritanium and other premium exports. Marty managed to keep it all, but at the price of twelve of his own crewmen, and forty more throughout the convoy. He could only imagine the price Aamaya had to pay for that failure.

"Starfleet might not have a lot of secure secrets anymore," Marty said, "but I think I speak for the Admiral when I say we're more interested in what Aamaya's crew knew about the Triangle and Syndicate activity than we care what they're about to give up. We'll rescue all that we can, but I'm not prepared to trade your lives for theirs. We get who we can, even if it's just one person. As for Aamaya, there's one of two possibilities. Either he sold out his ship and crew and is now full-bore with the Syndicate, or he lived out his usefulness to them and is paying for a multitude of failures. Either way, he likely is of little use to us other than to provide a definitive ending."

"I'll do him in if no one else beats me to it," Mayhew said. "Hand to God, I will."

"He does have one use left to us." Daniel said, "Like I said, we don't know if he secured the ship to keep his usefulness. Because unless he's a moron, he'll know his life expectancy is directly tied to his usefulness. We don't need him to break it, hopefully, but we do need to know what steps he took to extend his life span with them."

"After that, well, he'll have outlived his usefulness to us." He shrugged.

"One step at a time," reminded the Captain. "We still are going to have to get inside the depot first. What do we know about it?"

"We know it's operated by Nausicaans," said Talia, having listened to the conversations so far. "We know there are humans being held as prisoners somewhere in it. Maybe even being used as forced labor. As for getting in quietly, why don't we take advantage of what the rest of the galaxy thinks of humans? You can say that the Orion and I have captured some old Starfleet humans we'd like to trade as hard laborers to the Nausicaans. Who's going to pay attention to a group of defeated people being traded to a depot? You should be able to get around and find what you eed easily enough."

"Hold on now," Lynn spoke up, "I don't feel like acting like a prisoner, even given the current mission."

"Because the first protocol is to attach remote collars. They're not as elegant as the Orion ones, but they do the same things - shock you by remote if you get out of line and blow up your head if you get out of range or out of control." Daniel chimed in, "So unless you've got a way to dampen the signal, that's really putting all of our eggs in one easy to head pop basket."

"Oh, I can be a prisoner," Syrial said, leaning back in their chair. "Or I can pretend to sell prisoners. I wonder if anybody there has seen a J'naii," they mused. They were a touch less bothered by the concept than they might have been if they were a human - if worst came to worst, they would have a family back home to buy Syrial back or a government that might not take kindly to one of its citizens being held as a slave. And if it got worse than that, well, at least as a slave Syrial wouldn't have to make their own decisions.

"Don't worry, Miss Tayler, you're not going to the depot." Marty leaned forward to push himself out of his seat. Once he was standing, he walked around the table to stand closer to the holographic projector where the image of the depot was still displayed. "Doctor, I'm glad you're volunteering, because we're going to need your expertise first hand with these prisoners. I don't want to transport anyone we can't seem to move."

The Captain looked over at Daniel. "Do you have any specs on these collars? Kibyr, is that something you could give Bishop a hand with? Maybe we all should ingest some sort of metallic compound to try and counteract the collars, run some interference naturally."

"I might be able to spare an engineer to help, but we have our hands full otherwise," Tayler said, glancing over to the Captain. "Especially if we want any chance of that cloak being done."

Marty shook his head. "We're going to need more than a chance. That cloak is going to be essential to pulling either of these plans off."

"So the way I read it, we need two strike teams," Mayhew said. "One walks into the depot and liberates the prisoners, another gets aboard the captured ship and commandeers it. Just like we did with the Lexington. I recommend sending Bishop, a couple Hostage & Rescue specialists, and whatever technicians as necessary to effect the liberation. For the Callisto, I volunteer to lead the strike team personally." He didn't say it, but there was no one else he trusted for that tactically sensitive objective.

The Captain nodded his agreement. "So that's Bishop and Syrial for the depot liberation. Mayhew and Ryler for the Callisto. That leaves Kibyr and sh'Ahrazad. Either of you want to volunteer for either of these? I'll need at least one person to stay behind so Morrison will still have a command team aboard the Lexington."

"I've had enough adventure with the Klingons," Kibyr stated. "I'd prefer to stay aboard if that's alright."

Daniel looked up at the ceiling for a moment, thinking, "There is one weasel I know, runs scams and the like. He can cough up the specs, just don't tell him too much. He just has a problem that if you wave something shiny and technological in his face, he doesn't know when to shut up."

"As far as getting in, there's a smuggler I think that can get us in, but again, carrot and stick. I'd like to keep her as a future asset, though. She's proven useful in the past. And I don't intend to burn all of my bridges for you lot." Bishop said, "At least not yet."

Mayhew nodded. "Fair enough. So long as they're dependable." Looking at Marty, though, he turned skeptical. "What about you, Collins? If you're leaving the ship with the corpsman and you ain't on either strike team, are you taking the day off?"

"I doubt it'll be for a day off," Alanna said, glancing first to Mayhew and then to the captain. "I was curious about that myself, sir."

Mayhew furrowed his brow at the corpsman. Yet again she seemed to be a few pins short of a bandolier. Had sarcasm died out along with the old Federation or was it that she rode the short shuttle to school?

"Who said I wasn't on a strike team?" Marty replied. "I intend to accompany Mister Bishop to this depot. I want to see for myself what happened to the Callisto's crew."

Lynn sighed at the banter, but knew her job. Did she exactly like it? No, but also knew it was where she had to be. The fact that the captain was going on a team too? That threw her off a little, but he had his reasons, right?

"You sure about that, Collins?" Mayhew asked. "If Aamaya was on the take, then your face is no doubt on someone's short list as a Starfleet captain. Hell, I'd be shocked if mine wasn't, too, what with all the recruits I sent through special tactics. That's why I didn't volunteer for the objective where my being recognized could compromise the mission."

Marty nodded. "Its probably arrogance, sure. But Aamaya also hates me. If he's on the take, I'm counting on that hatred to work in our favor. It'll draw him out quicker than cheese drawing a mouse. I'll have to leave it up to Bishop to keep me from dying."

"Draw out Aamaya," Mayhew said, "or put your ass straight into an interrogation chamber that you don't ever come out of." He gave Collins a hard look. "You sure this is the best idea?"

"If our roles were reversed," Marty suggested, looking straight at Mayhew, "do you really think you'd sit this one out?"

Mayhew narrowed his eyes at Marty. Of course Mayhew would put himself in harm's way at every opportunity. The man had a bona fide death wish and Lady Luck was too big of a bitch to grant it. But he couldn't say that. Not here and now.

"No," he admitted, "but only because brass isn't dumb enough to put me in the captain's chair. If you do this and you get caught for real, it means falling on your sword before they get anything out of you. Because they will get shit out of you, Collins. All the shit. And then they will feed what's left of you to their hounds."

It was almost sentimental coming from the crusty old soldier. Longing for an end to his life of one battle after another was one thing, but death could fuck off when it came to anyone else. He'd lost too many already.

"No offense to Mr. Bishop, but do you think your vendetta is worth the OPSEC risk? Hell, I'll help you chase the rat bastard to the ends of the quadrant if that's what you want, but let's not put the whole mission in jeopardy."

"Captain, I'm going to have to agree here. I'm all for a vendetta and killing someone slowly, but all the preparation here goes out the airlock if Aamaya makes you and blows our cover." Bishop said, "That's that, crew is dead, ship is probably gone, and we're either dead or running back with our tails between our legs."

"I can watch your back, sure, but if he just spots you on footage, that's it, mission over and you never cross paths." Bishop added.

"Well, that can be fixed," Syrial interjected, finally joining the discussion. "Just give him some simple prosthetics. Maybe some bigger ears, or ridges on the forehead. Or some fake hair. What's the human word it? A wig. Except more permanent. I don't know the word. And I mean, nothing's perfect. But if you're worried this Aamaya person recognizing him on the spot.... well..." The J'naii shrugged.

"I think," Lynn said, looking at them all, "The captain has made up his mind. We can say a million ways the same thing, but I think the plan is in place already and we all have work to do."

"No shit," Mayhew snapped. "I'm just lodging my objection and offering alternatives. Even so, Collins," he said, looking back to Marty. "If you go through with this bad idea of yours, then I insist on sending a couple of HRT specialists with you."

Kibyr just sat back and watched this play out. While Mayhew could be a tad gentler with his deliver, he was right in this instance. But Kibyr didn't want to interject and say that.

"This is a bad idea," Alanna said, finally getting through the internal thoughts. "We can't afford to lose you for the ship or Starfleet... we should find another way to get to Amaya."

Marty examined the faces of his crew. It was clear that his decision was going to have severe ramifications one way or the other, but there wasn't a chance in hell he was going to sit this one out. "My mind's made up," he informed the team. "I'm going to that depot, but I will take advantage of our doctor's surgical skills. We'll obscure the fact that I am who I am, and I'll do my part to find out what happened to the Callisto's crew. Syrial will still go, and we'll take Mayhew up on his offer on a couple of HRT specialists."

The Captain leaned forward in his chair. "We'll need Lexington to get us out, so for those left behind, nab the Callisto, get it to the Starfleet border, then hightail it back to the depot. All in all, that should take you no more than three days. If, after three days, this thing goes awry, consider us expendable. Bishop will undoubtedly be able to make it out alive, and I'll count on him to take care of me should everything goes south." He looked across the table to Daniel's eyes, hoping the mercenary knew exactly what Marty was talking about. If this was going to be a one-way trip, then he would make sure that he knew how it would end."

"Then I'd better get working on that cloak, Captain," Tayler said, "as we're going to need every minute we can use on that thing."

"I couldn't agree more," Marty said to Lynn. "If we're going to have any chance of success, we need to get going right away. We have that Orion interceptor in our shuttlebay still. That'll be our way into the depot. We'll launch in twelve hours. That should give our doctor enough time for some plastic surgery and for everyone to get prepped. Let's get to it."

 

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