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The Gruesome Side of War

Posted on Tue May 31st, 2022 @ 3:49pm by Lieutenant Commander Shaille Levine

Mission: The Koldaran Encounter
Location: Odraclite

Shaille had already changed into all blacks, as had most of the others from the Wellington that had transported down with her. The bright pops of colour signifying department on their regular uniforms made them too much of a target, especially given that they were about to venture beyond the barriers of what little safety they had and into the beyond.

Sitting cross legged on the floor, checking her weapons for what seemed like the eleventy billionth time, Shaille turned toward the person sitting next to her, an officer she didn't recognise, which meant they were likely from one of the other ships. "This seems a bit... I don't know... gross... doesn't it?" she asked. "Raiding dead bodies?"

Henry Castle was almost transfixed by the precision that the woman checked her weapon. As an Engineer, he found such routines almost…. Pleasing, in an aesthetic sort of way. “Never done it to people.” He answered finally. “Ripped equipment apart for spare parts before. Had to strip an energy generator to get the core, things like that. Never people, certainly not dead ones.”

He was still trying to figure this whole thing out. Sure, intellectually he knew what was going on, but there was still some part of his mind, some deep corner that wanted so badly to wake up from this nightmare. Wake up, and find himself back… where? Back on Tabula Rasa, or onboard the Pennsylvania? It was a question he didn’t have an answer for.

“You’ve got that down to a science.” He changed the subject, nodding to her weapon.

She gave a slight shrug in response. “Anxious energy needs to be discharged safely,” she said as she held out her hand to take his weapon from him. As soon as he handed it over she deactivated the weapon completely and pulled it apart, hands moving deftly, a keen gaze glancing over each piece as she cleaned it and reassembled the firearm before handing it back to him. “I have no idea what’s beyond those walls, but I know when I get there my piece will work.”

Henry took the weapon back with a smile and a nod. “Nervous energy, that I can understand. I’ve recallibrated more systems while waiting for something to happen than I care to count. Time is the biggest monster of them all.”

Shaille nodded slightly in agreement. “Time makes people do crazy things, especially in situations like this.”

Emony checked over all of her gear one last time, trying to process this situation for two. Unfortunately, none of Kyl’s previous hosts had much to offer here - the Trill were rather skittish when it came to symbiotes and war and did everything they could to keep them out of harm’s way during the Dominion War.

“I get the why of it, I just…this isn’t something they tell you to expect. I think most people just assume you’d be able to replicate everything you’d need.” Emony let out a sigh, “But I don’t know that anyone seriously expected to be in this type of situation at any level, either.”

Shaille was about to respond when the sound of the heavy door opening distracted them, all heads turning toward the now approaching Captain Taggart.

Captain Taggart entered the staging area, carrying his rifle at the ready, dressed in black, he carried a small pack with a first aid kit, some water, and a few high calorie nut bars. The rest of the pack was empty to use as storage for whatever they obtained on their raid. “Make sure you drink your fill of water then top off those water canteens in your packs, half full containers make more noise than full ones.” Mentally he prepared himself for what they were about to do, raid dead bodies for armor or anything useful; he hoped they could catch a break in the attacks at least enough to go out and come back in one piece.

“That downside with everyone weaponizing light - it’s strangely loud and visible and impractical to dampen either.” Emony commented as she started to tuck her vibrant red hair under a matching black skullcap. She then grabbed handfuls of dirt in her gloved hands, rolling the alien soil around before letting them drop and smeared what remained on her gloves over her face.

“Mind where you step. As long as you watch where and how you move, the rest is just proper planning on who sets the direction. Careful steps to not kick up dust or disturb flora or fauna, low profile, look at me, I’m invisible.” Emony offered with a smile trying to be encouraging but a little uncertain. It faded, however, just as quickly.

“...my predecessors failed to prepare you all for this situation and I didn’t speak up when I should’ve. More concerned about their own careers than they were about the well-being of the crew. I’ve got a lot of amends to make. No one gets left behind on my watch and I’m not just going to forget about people.” Emony said, a mix of regret and resolve.

Following the guidance of everyone around her – replacing her blue-accented jacket with a solid black one, checking her gear, topping up her canteen, keeping an eye open for anything she might disturb – Camille was happy to be back in it, among Starfleet Officers, on an away mission on a dangerous planet, ready to not only learn something new but help people in need. “Anything else to do?” she asked those around her. “I’m a bit out of practice.”

“We aren’t leaving anyone behind.” Hailey said in a voice that was both quiet but easy to hear. Unlike the others, she was in her deployment uniform, a mix of dark green and black in what seemed to be a random pattern that wouldn’t show her outline in a dark environment. A backpack that seemed to be full, a rifle slung over her shoulder, makeup in no discernable pattern that made her eyes nearly blend into the rest of her face in the same greens and black, “The Lieutenant has it right, ‘look at me, I’m invisible.’ We’re going to move cover to cover, not directly out in the open. If you see one of them, drop to one knee and remain still and quietly let your neighbor know. I’d suggest we keep two on point, twenty meters ahead, main body, one rear guard. Who here’s the best shot besides me?”

Emony quirked an eyebrow, “No offense, Major, but that’s entirely subjective and not exactly measurable here.”

She glanced to Dirk, “Sir, unless you see it differently, I might do better staying close to Doctor Levesque and Lieutenant Castle. Better to watch their backs with a familiar face.”

"We are all watching each other's backs, out here, everyone gather round," Taggart said to the team. "Our mission is a simple snatch and grab. We are bringing back armor and materials for the other teams for their missions over the next few days. I don't want to see any heroics. As long as we stick together get what we need we should be back in a short period of time. We our going to do our best to not engage the enemy, I'm hoping to get near the edge of their village where the Astraea crew first encountered the Koldaran. They smell a bit ripe from cooking in the sun but we have to just buck up and deal with it. It's not going to pleasant but it needs done. There are seven of us about to sneak out and all seven will be turning with full packs. Any questions? We depart in 2 minutes so make it quick if you have 'em."

“Sir, this is what I’ve been doing for several years.” Hailey pointed out, “Sneaking about and if necessary eliminating threats. I’m absolutely advocating watching each other’s backs, I just would highly suggest that myself and one other are on point so we’re not all tromping about in the open saying ‘shoot me, shoot me.’” She smiled slightly, “Besides, I’ve smelled worse, I guarantee it.”

“I’ve been in the Marine training area, I don’t doubt it,” Shaille retorted. “I think we’re better off staying together in one group. Move quietly, move quickly and just get it done. We don’t want to be out there any longer than necessary and the sooner we get back, the sooner we can get on with what needs to be done, so for the love of all things holy, can we please just get on with this disgusting mission?”

Emony glanced at the Major again, narrowing her eyes but bit off the comment forming in her mouth before it came out. She looked back to the Captain instead. “Aye, sir. I was more just asking in case we need to spread out for whatever reason, keeping me close to them would at least ensure they’re covered. But otherwise, I’m in agreement - let’s just get this done.”

As instructed, Camille took a position near Emony and Henry and nodded. She was ready.


============================

PARTICIPANTS:

Captain Dirk Taggart
Commanding Officer
USS Pennsylvania

Lieutenant Commander Shaille Levine
Chief Security Officer
USS Wellington

Lieutenant jg Camille Lévesque
Chief Science Officer
USS Pennsylvania

Commander Ichiko Gail
Executive Officer / Ship Second
USS Astraea

Lieutenant (JG) Emony Kyl
Chief Security/Tactical Officer
USS Pennsylvania

 

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