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Command Conference

Posted on Mon May 23rd, 2022 @ 3:04pm by Fleet Captain Abigail Laurens & Captain Michelle Bartlett

Mission: The Koldaran Encounter

The sparsely furnished room offered little more than a table and a few chairs, but it was enough. It gave places for those in the room to sit, a table to hold PaDD's, and most importantly a quiet place for the command staff of the three ships now on location to confer away from the chaos of the outer cloisters.

Abigail sank onto the hard chair, wincing at the discomfort. She sighed, her shoulders slumping slightly as she leaned forward and picked up a PaDD, thumbing into it and bringing up notes and possible strategies.

"We need to find a way to beat them back, to give ourselves an advantage. We're barely holding the ground we have," Abigail said quietly. "They just keep sending more and more waves of soldiers, like death is a goal." She shook her head. "Honestly I've never seen anything like them."

“Me and my crew have been here only a few hours, and we are barely holding them off,” Dirk replied, “Here is a rough scan of the immediate area of the temple and its surroundings. With them coming at us from multiple directions we are fighting on too many fronts. My suggestion would be to create two choke points by dropping or demolishing these buildings here and here,” he said as pointed to a couple of buildings. “This will give us time to come up with a better plan and buy us a little time.”

Michelle sat back as well. She knew there was likely NO diplomatic option here. Not from what she saw. “Where did they even come from? I thought we were still a ways away from Koldaran.”

Abigail stood up again, offering her seat along with the empty one next to it to the dual forms of Rostra. She walked to the glassless window, looking out for the briefest of moments before turning back. “My understanding is that this is how they operate,” she said quietly. “They come in, take planets, annihilate inhabitants and turn the location into a breeding swamp, which is how they have the numbers to fight like this.”

She paused, picking up a bottle of water and opening it, taking a sip. “Commander Gail had some suggestions earlier on ways to slow them down. At the time it wasn’t feasible, we were having enough struggles trying to bolster our hold here and protect the temple. Now that we have more bodies on hand we can potentially try.” She paused, another sip before turning toward her First Officer. “Commander, I’ll leave it to you to explain?”

Ichiko gave a nod to Abigail. Were this on a starship she’d stand to present. Though here, a constant worry about being observed kept her seated. “First off, this is how they operate. An ever expanding conquest. They need new planets for their empire. Planets they equip with environmental terraformer engines, takes decades… but it eventually transforms the planet into a swampy, tepid bog. Exactly the kind of environment they need to set up their breeding pools. Tadpole predation handles the vast numbers, but those that survive to be born as Koldaran are indoctrinated at birth, sworn to allegiance to the Admiralty before they get named, and ushered into military education and service.”

“Perform well, and you can go on the track to become an Officer, seen in the eyes of their stunted society as an Adult. Fail, and you die.” she cut no corners in her description of their ‘society’. Her voice held no lack of venom either. They were the enemy.

“As for tactics to stall them, Koldaran aren’t very bright when they aren’t being ordered. If we take out their communications turret, it’ll stifle the flow of new orders to the troops here. There will *not* be an officer down here… too dangerous. They’ll be in orbit. The turret allows them to communicate with the ground forces and make sure everyone gets their commands. It’ll be far from the front, and will be positioned with signal boosters so its range becomes global. That much power should show up nicely on even a handheld tricorder scan. The trick is getting there to destroy it.”

“The other primary target we should focus on is their LZ. Landing Zone.” she clarified. “Koldaran transporters aren’t the greatest but they get the job done. To transport the troops they are in the numbers they are they need reasonably flat ground. Wherever they’re sending in the troops, if we destabilise the local region they’ll either have to search out for new favourable terrain or break up their battle groups, which will only confuse their troops more. Forcing them to regroup before marching out.”

“The final suggestion I have is to raid the starship graveyard in sector seven on the map. I have a crazy enough pilot, she’s used to grey op deep drops. We get a team of science and engineering spec forces out there and search for shield generators or structural integrity field units and start bolstering our defences and start setting up choke points. Handheld weapons won’t do much against starship scale equipment, but it’ll put a serious drain on our power resources to do it.” she offered. “In order of importance, I’d rank the communications turret as a top priority. WIthout it, troops will have to be sent down with their orders, and thinking on the fly isn’t exactly part of Koldaran training. They’ll still shoot you, they just won’t formulate any grand strategy to do it. Duck and cover is still an instinct.”

Abigail listened to the list of suggestions, nodding along slowly. “I think our best bet is to prioritise the attacks to weaken them first. Any weakness will give us a tactical advantage and make it easier to go on with other ideas like the boneyard heist.” She took another sip of the water and glanced toward the window before turning back to Ichiko. “Commander, you said death is perceived as failure, do they collect their fallen bodies during combat? Or are they left there in light of their failure?”

“The dead are abandoned. If the Koldaran offensive is victorious, the bodies are collected to be stripped of armor, and the actual bodies themselves are fed to the terraformer engine. Mostly as a means of disposal rather than any spiritual meaning. Remember, their religion is military service. No afterlife for them.” she posited.

“If they lose, the dead are abandoned. The closest thing to a burial they get is if an orbital strike happens to land near them. Though, with the Federation presence in orbit, they won’t have time to coordinate any such action against us. For now, the forecast is clear. No rain.”

A thoughtful expression crossed Abigail’s face. “What would be stopping us from raiding the corpses?” she asked suddenly. “I mean, I doubt their technology is any use to us, but at the very least body armour and such could give us an advantage, or at the very least help us remain a little more undetected while we’re attacking our other targets, wouldn’t it?”

“Nothing.” Ichiko mentioned. “And I agree. Their personal armour is more to defend against ballistics, and to support their own simple bodies.” she mentioned, “So wash it out before you use it.”

“We can do a raid, hell I’ll lead it myself,” DIrk began, “But it will be useless if we leave our tails flapping in the wind back here. I’d suggest we do something first to strengthen our defences before beginning raids. Once we have a few things shored up here, I’d suggest we raid the bodies for armour, it will help with camouflage. Then let’s send a team to the boneyard and one to the comms site. I will help wherever I’m needed, but with these random around the clock attacks I think we need to make some decisions rather quickly.”

Abigail bristled slightly. “We’ve had our ‘tails flapping in the wind back here’ for two days,” she responded, unable to keep the sharpness from her voice. “And we’ve managed to hold our own. The REASON we haven’t been able to shore our defences better has simply been because they present a strong and relentless tactical front. We can sit around arguing about what to do first and who’s the better tactician but the reality is, I’ve seen how they work. Our best bet is to disrupt their status quo. Attack their supply lines, cut off their communications, prevent new troops being sent down, and then use that chaos to bolster our position. Disrupting them is what gives us the break we need, not standing here maintaining the status quo!”

Ichiko gave a nod, “We need breathing room, and the Federation just frankly isn’t built or prepared to fight a long term engagement. We need that moment to dig in.” she sided with her commander. “Though the disguise tactic will certainly help get close to the other targets. It’s not a tactic we get to actually employ.” she looked slightly upwards, “For, obvious reasons.”

“The Koldaran are stout but squishy. A little padding to fill out the form of the shorter strike troops perhaps.”

Abigail gave a nod. “Lets grab some of our crew. I want a team ready to go gathering as soon as the sun sets,” she ordered. “Captain Taggart can lead this team while we start assembling everyone else for the strike missions. Any objections?”

"None from me," Taggart said simply. He would need to talk to Abby later. His comment wasn't meant to upset her, he hoped it was just the lack of sleep and extreme stress that was talking.

“Good. Let’s get going,” Abigail replied, standing up and heading toward the door without waiting for any further responses. Small talk would wait.

Participating Characters:

Fleet Captain Abigail Laurens
Commanding Officer - USS Astraea

Captain DIrk Taggart
COmmanding Officer - USS Pennsylvania

Commander Ichiko Gail
Second in Command - USS Astraea (Ts’usugi - Experience with combating Koldaran)

Captain Michelle Bartlett
Commanding Officer - USS Wellington


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