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Planning Phase Two

Posted on Tue Aug 16th, 2022 @ 4:48pm by Fleet Captain Abigail Laurens & Captain Michelle Bartlett

Mission: The Koldaran Encounter
Location: Odraclite

The room was small. In other situations it may have been considered cosy, but now it was small. A singular table took up most of the space with a few chairs that offered the pretense of comfort but really just provided a chance to not have to be on ones feet. The simplicity of the room was almost overwhelming, even the scent of the candles that burned in the corners seemed cloying.

Taking the large cup of coffee that Dirk handed to her, Abigail offered a grateful smile before moving to one of the seats, looking down at the large paper map of their general location that had been spread out on the table and anchored.

"The strike teams have been gone a good few hours, this is as good a time as any to start working out what we do next," she said softly. "I don't know if we'll have any indicator of their success, short of them returning and telling us they were successful, so we should just work on the assumption that they will be and we'll have to forge on."

Ichiko sat on an uncomfortable looking chair, her ankle and foot wrapped in an immobilizer cast. Were this the ship, she'd be in med bay under some of Starfleet's finest equipment. Out here in the front lines, though, it was essentially sticks and a sloth wrap. "We might be able to hear their success, depending on the ordinance they're using." she shifted slightly, and immediately regretted it, and shifted back to her original posture. "How long until reinforcements arrive? We may need to simply dig in and outlast."

"I don't know if we have an eta on reinforcements Ichiko, our ships boosted and relayed the signal, and Lieutenant Kale contacted the Dalacari so we know help is coming, we just have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best," Dirk said as he took a sip of bitter field coffee.

"The Wellington and Pennsylvania, were the closest Federation ships, I think the only chance of help we have is if we can get help from other Quadrant inhabitants," Dirk swallowed hard before continuing. "Even if our teams are successful, this is a delaying action at best."

"So, we need to be prepared. Let's work on the assumption that we get no more reinforcements. It's us. Our strike teams are out there, their success gives us our best chance. We need a plan in place to hit them hard and fast while they're recovering from our hits." Abigail paused for a moment. "The Acehaya had technology, it's antiquated, probably not even functional, but is there any chance we may be able to put some of that to use?"

"I haven't had a chance to look it over, my background is security and weapons, Do any of you have any engineering knowledge?" Dirk asked.

"Ops training." Ichiko brought up, "Served as a Comm tech during my Three. I could handle the programming and software side of it, but physical engineering no." she shook her head. "I was reluctant to even consider a supportive elective, considering my condition."

Abigail turned toward Ichiko momentarily. "Contact the Astraea, get Valek to scan the planet and look for any signs of technology graveyards. If anyone can work out where they are, he would be the one. If he can get us some aerial imagery it might at least give us an idea of what we're working with and if it's worth sending a team to investigate further."

"I'll make the call." she responded in kind, "Once we're done here."

"Aside from that, how do we hit them hard and fast?" Abigail asked. "We need to take advantage of any gain we get from the strike teams and we need to be prepared to do it quickly. Do we know where their biggest groups are right now?"

"I can have my tactical officers attempt to find something approaching intel on their presence. Or maybe send some Marines in." Michelle said, sitting back and listening to the discussion.

"Knocking out the communication turret will do the most morale harm to them. They'll be lost and without competent... and I use that term unwillingly... leadership. Without a directing force they'll become very reactionary, but for the fifteen or twenty or so minutes immediately following the lapse in communication, they'll be sitting ducks." a pause, "I'm pretty sure that's the right term." if anyone would be, it would be her.

"Knocking out the LZ for the resupply will stop reinforcements, but it'll also stop them from trying to secure and deploy another turret. Once our reinforcements arrive, with the ground war here going against them that strongly, they might retreat from orbit." a pause, "Or if we cut them off, we can deal a more final blow to them."

"If we cut their communications, would surgical strikes from the air help?" Dirk asked. "Penn doesn't have any fighters but we have phasers and would need coordinates. That could buy time for our next maneuver."

Abigail paused, drumming her fingertips against the table for a moment as she leaned back. Though her gaze had been turned toward Dirk, her eyes were sightless, fixed on something well beyond the scope of their small gathering. "Commander Gail," she finally asked quietly. "If our three strike teams are successful and we disrupt their landing zones, their communications and their supply chain, what kind of impact is that going to have on their ships in orbit?" she asked quietly.

Ichiko gave the question some thought. "If we knock out everything they have down here, they might just re-evaluate the cost of continuing this conflict. They can't start an orbital bombardment due to the thick cloud cover and the interference in the upper atmosphere, so that rules that out. Honestly, there's a good chance that if we pull this off, the Koldaran still in orbit might view this world as no longer worth the trouble, and they might actually just try to leave."

"Then we hit them hard and fast," Abigail said quietly. "We prepare every body we have down here. As soon as we have confirmation the strike teams have been successful we send everyone out in a full assault and drive them back. At the same time, we have our ships engage up there,' she motioned vaguely upward. "Double down and make them hurt while we can."

"That sounds like the way to go," Dirk said, "I just wish I could be the one on the bridge firing, sending those bastards to whatever version of hell they believe in."

"I wish I could tell you that." Ichiko mentioned. "Best we figure is to them, Hell is a dishonorable discharge."

Abigail stood up from the table, pacing along the edge of the room, hands clasped behind her back. She stopped suddenly and rounded on Ichiko. "What do you know about their ships?" she asked. "Tactical abilities? Defensive capabilities? Weaknesses? Is there anything you can give us, or get for us that may be helpful?"

Ichiko took a breath. Not out of frustration, but because this was a long answer. "Last time I encountered them was during my three. If they've updated anything since then I'd be surprised."

"Koldaran battlecraft rely primarily on fighter support to confuse and pester enemy craft while their weapon systems calculate a solution. Their tactical computers are slower then ours, and thus slower than yours. They take longer to lock on, but Koldaran weapons hit like a train. I'd be hesitant to test our shields against their weapons. Keep moving and the odds of them hitting us go down. Eventually, even the youngest captain from the pond will learn to lead the target."

"Tactically they have particle cannons mounted front, and orbital bombardment racks pointed down. The only thing keeping the ground crews safe from orbital rain is that the Koldaran can't discharge their orbital weapons blindly, Their systems need a target. Also, their orbital bombards are usually either used first, or used last. The fact that they haven't deployed them yet, or tried to get a signal out to call down the rain, is a good sign for us."

"Defensive measures are standard shielding systems and a magnetized hull to confound torpedoes and physical mass weapons. We swapped out our old seventh generation torpedo chassis to counter their defensive hull plating, and in response they just order their fighters to intercept any torpedoes we send their way." she paused, "Their defensive screens are substandard compared to ours, and thus to yours. They rely on fighter harassment to confuse targeting systems while their system calculates a firing solution. We counter this by thinning the fighter population. Either going ship to ship, or area detonation of torpedoes." Ichiko took a sip of her drink. Dry throat was a side effect of the meds she was on. Field first aid had plenty of drawbacks, but it kept you alive and in the fight.

"The biggest drawback is their reliance on the communications turret to coordinate forces. It's too massive and too hot to store inside the craft so they have to mount it externally. It's got encryption that the Dalacari are still trying to break, but we just light it up and cut the comms to the battlegroup whenever we can. It confuses the pilots, since their entire battle strategy is 'Wait to be told what to do' and 'shoot enemy'. So without anything to coordinate them, they go from a reasonably efficient threat to buzzing gnats liable to get in their own way."

"That's all current from my last actual tour." she offered Abigail a soft smile. All from memory indeed.

"I need you to relay all of that information to Commander Valek," Abigail ordered calmly, leaning forward and resting her hands on the table. "Have him relay the information precisely as delivered to both the Wellington and the Pennsylvania. As soon as we know the strike teams have been successful and the ground troops have been disrupted I want all three ships to engage the Koldaran. Full assault, use what ever we have available. Keep them unable to regroup, either in the air or on the ground. I want to show them that we're serious, we're here, and they need to think twice before engaging us again." There was a hint of determination in her voice as she spoke.

"As soon as the strike teams report back, I want everyone capable armed and ready to engage down here as well. Take advantage of their confusion and take out as many as we can while we can," she finished.

"We'll be ready," Dirk said more confidently than he actually felt. "We will take care of business.

"Agreed." Michelle said, now realizing the full weight of what was taking place. "My crew will be ready. You needn't worry about that."

"Then we have a plan." Abigail stood up, her face set in resolution. "Commander Gail, if you need it access the Acehayan communications array to contact the Astraea. Captain Taggart and Captain Bartlett and I will start preparing and arming everyone for a ground assault as soon as we have information that the strikes have been successful." She drew in a deep breath. "Let's get this over and done with."


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